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.