Although the law is only now catching up to many of the new businesses on the Internet, one field that has been heavily regulated on a federal and state level is pharmacies. Due to
the potentially harmful effects of dispensing medications and controlled substances, each state has an interest in licensing and monitoring pharmacies that operate within their borders.
Even if a pharmacy is not physically located in a state, it may be subject to that state’s regulations as soon as a resident of the state places an order.
The first step to becoming a properly licensed pharmacy is to obtain a pharmacy permit/license in your domestic state. The pharmacy must next fulfill federal licensure requirements.
In every other state in which they do business, they must obtain a Non-Resident Pharmacy License (e.g. NY, VA, MO) or a Mail Order Pharmacy License (e.g. ME, NH, MT). The appropriate
license may have a different title depending on the state. Many states further require a Controlled Substance License (e.g. TX, MI, NJ).
Licensing agencies are generally the state’s Board of Pharmacy or some variant of a department of public health. License processing times range from 10 business days to 3 months.
All non-resident pharmacy licenses require the pharmacy be properly licensed in its domestic state. Most states have some type of annual reporting or renewal requirement.
The penalties for noncompliance are harsh. Common sanctions include revocation or denial of license as well as fines. If a pharmacy is dispensing controlled substances within a
state without the proper license, it may also be subject to criminal prosecution.