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Know your state's laws when mailing prescriptions to patients

Pharmacy Regulation Resource, April 28, 2004

Check with state and local authorities for applicable laws if your pharmacy mails prescription drugs to a patient's home.

The federal government allows pharmacies to mail prescription drugs-including controlled narcotics-to a patient, but states may have their own laws about mailing drugs as well, says Tim Benedict, RPh, assistant executive director of the Ohio State Board of Pharmacy.

For example, if you mail prescriptions to a patient in another state, you may need a pharmacy license in both your state and the state in which the patient resides, Benedict says. Most states have this requirement, so check to make sure you have a license in the state to which you mail the prescription.

"Check with your local authorities," Benedict says. "Mailing drugs is a very common practice today. A lot of common sense goes into this."

Common sense includes using only your street address, city, state, and zip code in the return address and not your pharmacy name, Benedict says. This will help guard against theft, as someone may see that the package is from a pharmacy and steal the medications.