Your browser is currently set to block JavaScript.

For full functionality of this site it is necessary to enable JavaScript. Here are the instructions how to enable JavaScript in your web browser.

After enabling javascript, please refresh the page to go back to site with full functionality

Would you turn off/on JavaScript?

It's a widely used language that makes the web what it is today, allowing for websites to be more responsive, dynamic, and interactive. Disabling JavaScript takes websites back to a time when they were simple documents without any other features.

What are the advantages of using JavaScript?

Speed. Since JavaScript is an 'interpreted' language, it reduces the time required by other programming languages like Java for compilation. JavaScript is also a client-side script, speeding up the execution of the program as it saves the time required to connect to the server.

banner ad
Experts Logo


Prescribing Controlled Substance: Defining "Legitimate Medical Purpose in the Usual Course of Professional Practice"

By: Dr. James Patrick Murphy
Tel: 502-664-1803
Email Dr. James Patrick Murphy

View Profile on

In the United States, prescribers may be federally indicted and prosecuted based upon interpretation of these ten words:

legitimate medical purpose in the usual course of professional practice

The entire phrase found in the DEA Practitioner’s Manual reads:

To be valid, a prescription for a controlled substance must be issued for a legitimate medical purpose by a practitioner acting in the usual course of professional practice.

Importantly, the DEA Practitioner’s Manual goes on to say:

Federal courts have long recognized that it is not possible to expand on the phrase “legitimate medical purpose in the usual course of professional practice” in a way that will provide definitive guidelines to address all the varied situations physicians may encounter.

Based on my research, terms like “legitimate medical purpose” and “usual course of professional practice” are not found in medical textbooks, nor are they taught in medical schools. It does not seem to be necessary. It is intuitive to physicians what we do and why we do it.

Nevertheless, courts need more definitive guidance, otherwise they might default to: “You just know it when you see it.

I am simply not comfortable with such a vital phrase remaining so inscrutable. And as a physician, I feel the dearth of clarity surrounding those ten words places all physicians, including myself, at risk. Consequently, this physician set out on a journey to “define thyself.”

The following (with links to references) represents a work in progress that, with help from numerous colleagues, wordsmiths, legal experts, patients, friends, lay people and trusted advisors, comprises my current best effort at expanding upon:

Legitimate medical purpose in the usual course of professional practice

In essence, for a duly licensed M.D or D.O. physician practicing medicine in the United States, this phrase from the DEA Practitioner’s Manual corresponds to a generally accepted process that, in the context of a patient-physician relationship, can correctly be expanded to mean: a science-based, moral art of caring wherein a physician serves a patient’s medical needs, primarily, by accessing and evaluating information that is utilized by the physician in deriving a clinical assessment, leading to the physician formulating a plan of care. With intent to mitigate harm to the patient, intent to provide benefit to the patient, intent to respect the patient’s right to autonomy, and intent to be mindful of how consequences might affect others, the physician in this course of practice exercises judgment that is considerate of scientific evidence, judgment that is reasoned by the physician to be in accord with standards in the field of medicine, and judgment that is born out of the physician’s knowledge, observations and intuition.

Dr. James Patrick Murphy is a fellowship trained (Mayo Clinic) board certified Anesthesiologist with subspecialty board certifications in Pain Medicine and Addiction Medicine. Dr. Murphy has a Master of Medical Management degree (MMM) from the University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business. He provides expert witness services to attorneys representing both plaintiff and defendant. He is particularly adept at defining "legitimate medical purpose in the usual course of professional practice." His services include medical records review, thorough reporting, depositions, and trial testimony as needed.

©Copyright - All Rights Reserved


Related articles


5/2/2013· Pain Management

Electroanalgesic Nerve Block

By: Dr. Robert Odell

Electroanalgesic medical treatment involves the use of computer-modulated electronic signals to imitate, exhaust or block the function of somatic or sympathetic nerve fibers.


12/5/2005· Pain Management

Acute and Post Operative Pain Management For Children

By: Dr. Steven Richeimer

Traditionally, pain in children is a topic that has received only minimal attention.Much of our understanding of pain in children has been extrapolated from adult studies.As recently as 20 years ago clinicians felt that it was unnecessary to prevent or treat pain in children because the prevailing opinion was that


5/2/2013· Pain Management

New Technique Combines Electrical Currents and Local Anesthetic for Pain Management

By: Dr. Robert Odell

Combined electrochemical nerve block reduced pain in 80% of patients with neuropathies and 50% of patients with intractable back pain.

; broker Movie Ad

Follow us

linkedin logo youtube logo rss feed logo