50-State Healthcare and Pharmaceutical Licensing Compliance Guide
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Internet and Mail-Order Pharmacy License

The basics of obtaining and maintaining an internet and mail-order pharmacy license.

Starting or Expanding an Internet and Mail-Order Pharmacy

Online pharmacies that ship and mail drugs are heavily regulated at the state and federal level. Government entities have an interest in licensing pharmacies to protect consumers from the potentially harmful effects of dispensing medications and controlled substances.

State registration laws and public health codes impact the internet pharmacy registration process. The process business owners undergo depends on their states’ requirements. In general, they will go through the following steps:

  • Learn the state’s business registration and licensing requirements.
  • Decide on a business name and entity structure.
  • Apply for a federal tax identification number from the Internal Revenue Service and register with the Secretary of State.
  • Obtain necessary types of insurance, including general liability, commercial auto, and workers’ compensation.
  • Research license and registration renewal requirements and prepare to keep the business compliant.

If you are concerned about managing the business registration process on your own, you can seek guidance from the business licensing experts at Harbor Compliance. With our professional licensing services, we offer full support through all of the stages of the corporate life cycle and can provide access to expert software insights. We make preparing and filing applications easy and handle communication with government agencies on your behalf. With our software, you can track your registration status, license numbers, filing history, fees, and renewals 24/7.

Obtaining an Internet and Mail-Order Pharmacy License

Licensing requirements for internet pharmacies vary by state. It is essential to verify the process in your state to ensure you are prepared every step of the way. Becoming an online licensed pharmacy typically starts with obtaining a pharmacy permit or license in your domestic state. A mail order license is required for business in all other states. License names vary, so refer to each state’s Secretary of State.

To apply, you will likely need to gather all relevant documentation, including financial statements, proof of a commercial activity license, a business plan, and more. The pharmacy will submit a letter of licensure verification for their physical location and facility, as well as verification for the Pharmacy Manager. An inspection will also need to be conducted by the state Board of Pharmacy prior to licensure approval.

Processing times vary; however, most applications are accepted or denied within three months. You will also need to appoint a registered agent to receive notices of lawsuits and other legal or government notices. To manage those tasks more efficiently, Harbor Compliance offers compliance software and managed services to help simplify the application process, allowing you to focus on other aspects of running your business.

Maintenance and Renewal

Most states and cities require licenses to be renewed on an annual or biennial basis. Renewal ensures your business complies with all state and local regulations. Renewal fees vary, so it is a good idea to be aware of what you may owe to keep your business in good standing.

If you are currently operating an internet and mail-order pharmacy and are looking to outsource your maintenance and renewal duties, Harbor Compliance can help. License Manager helps healthcare professionals maintain their licenses by automating repetitive tasks like tracking renewals and compliance deadlines.

Through License Manager, you can also access Compliance Core™ – our extensive, proprietary database of nationwide licensing requirements – to research the requirements for the states in which you work. Contact our licensing experts today to learn more.

Explore Licensing by State

Click on a link below to view licensing information in your state.

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.