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Pharmacy board alert: Filling prescriptions for patients displaced by emergency relocations



November 14, 2018

Currently, three California counties—Los Angeles, Ventura and Butte—are under a state of emergency due to the effects of the Hill, Woolsey and Camp wildfires, which have destroyed homes and businesses, threatened critical infrastructure and caused the evacuation of residents.

The California State Board of Pharmacy reminds pharmacists and prescribers of state laws that can help in caring for patients displaced by emergency relocations. Below are requirements for furnishing prescription drugs, providing emergency refills without prescriber authorization, and operating a mobile pharmacy in a declared emergency area from California Business and Professions Code sections 4062 and 4064:

Section 4062. Furnishing Dangerous Drugs during Emergency; Mobile Pharmacy

  1. Notwithstanding Section 4059 or any other provision of law, a pharmacist may, in good faith, furnish a dangerous drug or dangerous device in reasonable quantities without a prescription during a federal, state, or local emergency, to further the health and safety of the public. A record containing the date, name, and address of the person to whom the drug or device is furnished, and the name, strength, and quantity of the drug or device furnished shall be maintained. The pharmacist shall communicate this information to the patient’s attending physician as soon as possible. Notwithstanding Section 4060 or any other provision of law, a person may possess a dangerous drug or dangerous device furnished without prescription pursuant to this section.
  2. During a declared federal, state, or local emergency, the board may waive application of any provisions of this chapter or the regulations adopted pursuant to it if, in the board’s opinion, the waiver will aid in the protection of public health or the provision of patient care.
  3. During a declared federal, state, or local emergency, the board shall allow for the employment of a mobile pharmacy in impacted areas in order to ensure the continuity of patient care, if all of the following conditions are met:
    1. The mobile pharmacy shares common ownership with at least one currently licensed pharmacy in good standing.
    2. The mobile pharmacy retains records of dispensing, as required by subdivision (a).
    3. A licensed pharmacist is on the premises and the mobile pharmacy is under the control and management of a pharmacist while the drugs are being dispensed.
    4. Reasonable security measures are taken to safeguard the drug supply maintained in the mobile pharmacy.
    5. The mobile pharmacy is located within the declared emergency area or affected areas.
    6. The mobile pharmacy ceases the provision of services within 48 hours following the termination of the declared emergency.

Section 4064. Emergency Refill of Prescription without Prescriber Authorization

  1. A prescription for a dangerous drug or dangerous device may be refilled without the prescriber’s authorization if the prescriber is unavailable to authorize the refill and if, in the pharmacist's professional judgment, failure to refill the prescription might interrupt the patient’s ongoing care and have a significant adverse effect on the patient’s well-being.
  2. The pharmacist shall inform the patient that the prescription was refilled pursuant to this section.
  3. The pharmacist shall inform the prescriber within a reasonable period of time of any refills dispensed pursuant to this section.
  4. Prior to refilling a prescription pursuant to this section, the pharmacist shall make every reasonable effort to contact the prescriber. The pharmacist shall make an appropriate record, including the basis for proceeding under this section.
  5. The prescriber shall not incur any liability as the result of a refilling of a prescription pursuant to this section.
  6. Notwithstanding Section 4060 or any other law, a person may possess a dangerous drug or dangerous device furnished without prescription pursuant to this section.

For additional information, contact the Board of Pharmacy at (916) 574-7900 or visit the board’s website at pharmacy.ca.gov.

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