Pharmacy Licensing Compliance

Add compliance to your prescription plan

Like many professional industries, pharmaceutical work requires a unique set of licenses. Whether you are a manager of a pharmacy practice, an employee within a pharmacy, or a recent graduate starting your career, you will face certification and licensing requirements at every level of your career.

Adhering to professional licensing requirements is key to maintaining your legal authority to practice pharmacy. Beyond that, full compliance demonstrates that you have the medical skills and judgement to ensure the health and safety of those who rely on your services as a pharmacist. Failing to observe pharmaceutical industry requirements can result in state imposed penalties and even denial, revocation, or suspension of your license.

The good news? An experienced, dedicated compliance partner can help you take a proactive approach to maintaining pharmacy licensure and certification. Contact Harbor Compliance today to help you simplify the professional licensing process.

The following guide contains an overview of pharmaceutical licensing and specific board requirements in each state.

Pharmacy License Classifications

Pharmacy licenses generally fall into 3 categories: Pharmacy facility, Wholesaler/Distributor, and Other. Pharmacy state licensing boards vary in how they label license types, so it is important to review the information from the specific state board of pharmacy that you are applying through. The following is a breakdown of licenses that typically appear in these three categories.


  • In-State Pharmacy
  • Out-of-State Pharmacy
  • Community Pharmacy
  • Clinic
  • Mail Order Pharmacy
  • Hospital Pharmacy
  • Limited Prescription Pharmacy


  • Wholesale Drug Distributor
  • Manufacturer of Prescription Drugs
  • Medical Gas Distributor
  • Repackager


  • Research and Teaching Institution
  • Home Medical Equipment Service Provider
  • Non-Pharmacy Drug Outlet
  • Other Establishments

Pharmacy Licensing

Overview of Requirements

A business entity offering pharmaceutical services to the public must register with the State Board of Pharmacy and receive the relevant pharmacy license. A pharmacy license is necessary to practice in all states and companies practicing without one can be liable for steep penalty fees and even criminal charges.

Licensure for pharmacies usually follows incorporation or foreign qualification of the business entity with the secretary of state. Common legal structures for companies are corporations or professional corporations (PC), and limited liability companies (LLC) or professional LLCs. Incorporation refers to formation of the business entity, whereas foreign qualification refers to applying for a Certificate of Authority to transact business in another state.

After registration with the secretary of state, companies must apply for a license through the relevant licensing board. Pharmacy industry licenses are generally divided by the types of pharmaceutical services that a pharmacy might provide. For example, New Mexico has 14 different companies licenses ranging from Animal Control and Hospital pharmacy licenses to Wholesale Drug Distributor and Narcotic Treatment Program Facility licenses. Applications and forms vary by state and states don’t always classify pharmacies in the same way. Despite the variation across state licensing boards, there are some requirements that are nearly universal.

Applications almost always require the companies to incorporate or foreign qualify before applying for a pharmacy license. Other common application requirements include: Controlled Substance registration, facility information, and self-inspection forms.

Pharmacies that provide pharmaceutical service to more than one state are required to register in all states that they service. Out-of-state applications typically have more requirements than in-state applications, and pharmacies must meet these requirements prior to providing service in another state. Proof of Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) registration, resident state pharmacy licenses, and inspection reports are common requirements on out-of-state license applications.

State boards also require companies to have at least one licensed pharmacist employed before applying for a license. This individual is known as the pharmacist in charge. The pharmacist in charge must usually submit proof of licensure and needs to be individually licensed in any additional states that the pharmacy expands to. One notable exception to this rule is Arizona, where out of state pharmacies do not need to have an Arizona licensed pharmacist on staff.

There can also be federal registration requirements for pharmacies. Pharmacies that issue controlled substances should register with the DEA following state level licensure.

Initial Registration Fees

Fees for initial licensure range from $75 to $900. Wisconsin’s pharmacy license is only $75, while the District of Columbia’s pharmacy license amounts to $900. The average license fee is around $300.

Renewal Requirements

Pharmacy license renewal varies by state. About half of all states call for licenses to be renewed every two years with the remaining states renewing annually.

Like initial application fees, renewal fees also vary by state. Fees range from just $100 for some West Virginia licenses to $900 in the District of Columbia. Companies can expect to pay closer to the national average of $265 when applying for a license, however, the most commonly applied fee is $200.

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Key Terms

Controlled Substance Registration - In addition to a pharmacy license, controlled substance registration registration is required in many states for pharmacies that distribute controlled substances.NABP (National Association of Boards of Pharmacy) - Host a variety of programs and resources relating to pharmacist and pharmacy licensure and examination.Pharmacist in Charge - A licensed pharmacist designated by a pharmacy to act as the party responsible for compliance with regulations.VPP (Verified Pharmacy Program) - A program run by NABP that allows state boards to share information and more easily register out-of-state pharmacies.

Table of Company Licenses

Looking for pharmaceutical certification requirements in a particular jurisdiction? The following table summarizes pharmacy licensing requirements across the United States.

Click on any state for the licensing information specific to that state.The following table summarizes company licensing requirements across the United States. Click on any state for the licensing information specific to that state.

State Agency Application Fee Renewal Fee


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Alabama Board of Pharmacy $200 baseline $100 baseline


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Alaska Board of Pharmacy $300 Baseline $240 baseline


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Arizona State Board of Pharmacy Varies $240 baseline


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Arkansas State Board of Pharmacy $300 Baseline $300 baseline


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California State Board of Pharmacy $520 baseline $331 baseline


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Colorado State Board of Pharmacy $150 baseline The board will notify you of the renewal fee.


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Connecticut Commission of Pharmacy $750 $190


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Delaware State Board of Pharmacy $298 baseline $318 baseline

District of Columbia

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District of Columbia Board of Pharmacy $900 for pharmacy, $100 for drug manufacturer $900


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Florida Board of Pharmacy $255 baseline $255


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Georgia State Board of Pharmacy $500 for most $600 baseline


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Hawaii Board of Pharmacy $202 baseline $184


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Idaho State Board of Pharmacy $100 baseline $100


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Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, Division of Professional Regulation _ State Board of Pharmacy $100 $200


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Indiana Board of Pharmacy $100 baseline $200 baseline


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Iowa Board of Pharmacy $135 baseline $135


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Kansas State Board of Pharmacy $112 baseline $100


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Kentucky Board of Pharmacy $100 baseline $100


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Louisiana Board of Pharmacy $175 $150


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Maine Department of Professional and Financial Regulation, Office of Professional and Occupational Regulation - Board of Pharmacy $200 $200


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Maryland Board of Pharmacy $700 baseline $700


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Massachusetts Board of Registration in Pharmacy $525 baseline $525 baseline


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Michigan Board of Pharmacy $180 baseline $110


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Minnesota Board of Pharmacy $225 baseline $225


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Mississippi Board of Pharmacy $350 baseline $300 baseline


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Missouri Board of Pharmacy $300 baseline $450


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Montana Board of Pharmacy $400 baseline $125 baseline


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Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health, Licensure Unit $625 $625


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Nevada State Board of Pharmacy $500 baseline $500

New Hampshire

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New Hampshire Board of Pharmacy $500 baseline $250 baseline

New Jersey

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New Jersey State Board of Pharmacy $175 baseline $175

New Mexico

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New Mexico Board of Pharmacy $300 baseline $300 baseline

New York

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New York State Board of Pharmacy $345 baseline $260

North Carolina

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North Carolina Board of Pharmacy $500 baseline $200

North Dakota

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North Dakota State Board of Pharmacy $175 baseline $175 baseline


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State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy $112.50 baseline $112 baseline


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Oklahoma State Board of Pharmacy $350 baseline $150


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Oregon State Board of Pharmacy $175 baseline $225


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Pennsylvania Board of Pharmacy $125 baseline $125

Rhode Island

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Rhode Island Board of Pharmacy $320 baseline $120 baseline

South Carolina

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South Carolina Department of Labor Licensing and Regulation - Board of Pharmacy $200 baseline $100 baseline

South Dakota

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South Dakota State Board of Pharmacy $200 baseline $200


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Tennessee Board of Pharmacy $310 baseline $310 baseline


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Texas State Board of Pharmacy $454 baseline $451


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Utah Board of Pharmacy $200 baseline $103


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Vermont Board of Pharmacy $300 baseline $300


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Virginia Board of Pharmacy $275 baseline $270


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Washington State Pharmacy Quality Assurance Commission $370 baseline $405 baseline

West Virginia

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West Virginia Board of Pharmacy $150 baseline $100 baseline


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Wisconsin Pharmacy Examining Board $75 baseline $128


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Wyoming State Board of Pharmacy $300 baseline $150 baseline
This page was last fact-checked January 6, 2016
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