In-office Pharmacy

January 1, 2006

Can our practice sell hard-to-find drugs to patients? The local pharmacies don't stock everything we prescribe.

Question: Can our practice sell hard-to-find drugs to patients? The local pharmacies don't stock everything we prescribe.

Answer: Nearly all issues related to dispensing are governed at the state level. There are few federal rules. That means you need to contact your local attorney, state board of pharmacy, or state medical society and find out:

  • Can you dispense without a pharmacy license or registration?If not, how do you get a license? According to the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, only slightly more than 300 physicians currently hold pharmacy licenses, so you probably won't have to go this route.
  • What can you dispense?For example, New Jersey allows dispensing of drops and ointments only.
  • How much product can you dispense?Some states allow physicians to hand out only what the patient will need until they can get to a drugstore or only a 48-hour supply.
  • To which patients can you dispense?Most states only allow you to fill prescriptions for your own established patients. You can't fill prescription from other physicians for customers walking in off the street like a pharmacy would.
  • Can you make a profit?A few states that allow dispensing insist that physicians only charge enough to cover their costs. This may or may not influence your decision.

You also might have a chat with one or two local pharmacies about stocking for your needs.

Alternatively, send your patients to high-quality online pharmacies. The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy approves these online vendors:

Anthem Prescription,

www.anthemprescription.com



Caremark.com,

www.caremark.com



DrugSource, Inc.,

www.drugsourceinc.com



drugstore.com,

www.drugstore.com



Familymeds.com,

www.Familymeds.com



CVS,

www.cvs.com



Medco Health Solutions, Inc.,

www.medcohealth.com



Care for Life,

www.careforlife.com



Prescription Solutions,

www.rxsolutions.com



RxWEST Pharmacy,

www.rxwest.com



Tel-Drug, Inc./CIGNA,

www.teldrug.com



Walgreens, Co.,

www.walgreens.com