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Frequently Asked Questions Concerning Free or Charitable Clinic Pharmacies


Q: May a physician assistant/nurse practitioner dispense prescription drugs at a free or charitable clinic?

A: Yes, as long as the NP/PA is registered with the Board of Pharmacy and dispensing from a place holding a pharmacy permit and under the supervision of the pharmacist manager in compliance with Board Rule .1703 and Board Rule .1706



Q: If a nurse practitioner or physician assistant at the free or charitable clinic dispenses only prescription drug samples, must he/she register with the Board as a dispenser?

A: The Board does not interpret Rule .1703’s requirements to apply to a PA or NP who is engaged in traditional sampling – i.e., handing out, free of any charge (whether direct or indirect), starter doses or packets of prescription drug samples received from a prescription drug manufacturer in compliance with the Prescription Drug Marketing Act.



Q: May a physician dispense prescription drugs at a free or charitable clinic?

A: Yes.  A physician is not required to register with the Board of Pharmacy to do so as long as the drugs are dispensed without any fee or other charge to the patient.



Q: Are volunteer pharmacy technicians at a free or charitable clinic required to register with the Board?

A: Yes. Board Rule .3301(c) specifies that pharmacy technicians who provide services solely at a free clinic (as defined at GS § 90-85.44) are required to register as technicians, but are exempt from the registration fee.  Accordingly, technicians practicing solely at free clinics should complete the online registration application. The registration fee will be waived upon verification of the free clinic site.



Q: May free or charitable clinics mail medications to patients?

A: Yes.  Nothing in the Pharmacy Practice Act or associated rules prohibits a licensed in-state free or charitable clinics from mailing medications to patients that reside in North Carolina and can do so as long as all regulations are met for in-state pharmacies.

If the free or charitable clinic wishes to mail prescription drugs to patients residing outside of North Carolina, it is the responsibility of the pharmacy to ensure they are operating within the laws of the state to which the prescription medications are mailed.



Q: Does a free or charitable clinic require a Drug Enforcement Agency registration for dispensing, storing, or administering controlled substances?

A: Yes.  A DEA number is required by any pharmacy that orders, stores, or dispenses any controlled substances. 



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