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Pharmacy board announces special circumstances to help patients affected by wildfires



September 16, 2015
Area(s) of Interest: Advocacy 

With thousands of Californians displaced by the Valley Fire in Lake County and the Butte Fire in Amador and Calaveras counties, the California State Board of Pharmacy will allow pharmacists in the affected areas (and adjacent counties) to provide medically necessary prescription drugs without full compliance with pharmacy law to those impacted by the fire.


This wavier applies to human and veterinary drugs and is subject to limitations including:

  • A pharmacist may dispense a medication without an underlying prescription if:
    • The pharmacist determines the medication is medically necessary.
    • The benefits to the patient outweigh the risk to the patient.
    • The patient provides the name of the prescriber.
    • The pharmacy documents its actions (e.g., creates an order similar to one accepting a prescription order over the phone) and the documentation reflects that it was dispensed pursuant to an emergency authorization.
    • The medication is not a sterile compounded drug.
    • The medication is not a controlled substance.
    • The quantity of medication does not exceed a 30-day supply.
    • The pharmacist makes an attempt to validate the dispensing history through commercially available methods.
    • The pharmacy attempts to contact the prescriber.
  • Hospital inpatient pharmacies may dispense to outpatients in excess of the one percent limit on total outpatient prescriptions currently established in law. Such dispensing is exempt from prescription labeling requirements; however, the label must include the same elements the hospital would provide on medication to a patient that is being discharged from the hospital.

This waiver will remain in effect until the Governor drops the state of emergency or until the board rules the waiver has expired.

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