10+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
May 12, 2002
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Hello pharmacy colleagues. I have searched extensively for the following question but have not found an answer. I was wondering if anyone here can help?

If I have my state medical license and national provider identification (NPI) number - do I need a DEA number to prescribe NON-NARCOTIC drugs to my patients?

It seems like most pharmacies I call ask for a DEA # even for antibiotics etc. I was under the impression that DEA # was only required for controlled substances? Am I wrong about this?

Thanks for your help, I wanted to get some answers before I spend another few hundred dollars on a number that I may not need.



It's not THAT kind of study hour...
10+ Year Member
Mar 10, 2007
Pharmacy Student
I have always been under the impression that you only need a DEA # to prescribe controlled substances. The reason why pharmacies probably ask you for it is so that if you do ever right a script for a controlled substance and that pharmacy fills that script, then they don't have to take up more time to call and find it out. Why not just do it why we have you on the phone right now.

As far as you not wanting to get one do you never plan on writing for controlled substances? You have to have one to write for CII-CV. This includes things such as ambien and the benzos.


Rained out
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Oct 20, 2005
Temperate Rainforest
Resident [Any Field]
At least in the case of the chain I work for, we have to have a doctor's DEA number in order to finish inputting their info into the computer. Some techs will get around this by using a dummy one, but then if you DO prescribe a control, there are legal ramifications on both sides.

Also, some insurance companies won't reimburse pharmacies without both a DEA and an NPI.

I'd go ahead and spend the $$ to get one - you never know when you might need to prescribe a cough syrup or hormone gel, y'know?
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Julius Randle BEASTMODE!
Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Mar 25, 2008
You don't need the DEA # to prescribe non-scheduled drugs, but you'll more than likely need to prescribe controlled drugs so why wouldn't you get one?


I bite
Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
Jun 30, 2007
NYC metro area
Many insurance companies require a DEA number in order to process the script, but you do not need it to prescribe non-controlled substances. Then if you don't have a DEA number we have to use another one (such as the pharmacy's DEA number, of if you are a resident, the DEA of your attending, depending on the situation, etc.) and it's rather messy. It's better to have your own, and have it associated with you in the computer. Saves everyone time and effort. :)
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