Federal Judge Sides with Teladoc, Blocks TMB Telemedicine Rule

Last month, U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman granted Teladoc's request for a temporary restraining order (TRO) and preliminary injunction that blocks the Texas Medical Board's (TMB's) recently adopted telemedicine rule, which prohibits prescription of dangerous drugs or controlled substances without a "defined physician-patient relationship." That includes a physical examination via face-to-face visit or in-person evaluation, as TMB defines those terms in the rules. TMB adopted the rule on April 10, it and was set to take effect June 3.

In its application for a TRO, Teladoc argued TMB has engaged in anticompetitive actions that would put the company out of business in Texas and lead to "higher prices, reduced choice, reduced access, reduced innovation, and reduced overall supply of physician services." In response, TMB argued the rule is consistent with "sound medical practice" and is "reasonably necessary for and beneficial to patient welfare." In the order, Judge Pitman concludes "the balance of respective interests of the parties and the public weigh in favor of granting [Teladoc's] application for a preliminary injunction."

TMA, Southwest Pharmacy Solutions, the American Osteopathic Association, the Texas Osteopathic Medical Association, and the Federation of State Medical Boards filed briefs in opposition to the application for TRO and preliminary injunction.

The injunction will continue until Teladoc's federal antitrust lawsuit against TMB is resolved. 

TMA President Tom Garcia, MD, said in a statement that "TMA is sorely disappointed with the court's decision allowing the writing of prescriptions for dangerous drugs without first establishing a patient-physician relationship. Protecting patient health and safety and improving the quality of patient care are the Texas Medical Board's responsibilities. TMA supports the challenged rules and believes they fulfill the board’s mission."

Action, June 15, 2015

Last Updated On

May 12, 2016

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