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Health tech companies that have taken advantage of the possibility to prescribe controlled substances online during the pandemic may soon find their businesses — and their ability to care for patients — in jeopardy. 

The public health emergency paved the way for these young companies — whose prescriptions range from ADHD medication to substance use disorder treatment and off-label ketamine for depression — to prescribe medicines without ever seeing a patient in-person. But when the emergency ends, a decade-old ban on that practice could come back into effect, unless Congress or the Drug Enforcement Administration act. That uncertainty is now forcing telehealth companies to prepare for either outcome, with some scrambling to cement relationships with in-person providers or considering building new clinics to have the necessary physical footprint. 

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