Emergency Pharmacy Board Orders

The SC Board of Pharmacy has taken action to provide much-needed medications and pharmacy services to the citizens of South Carolina during this unprecedented public health emergency. The Board has issued Orders on matters related to permitting and practice during the public health state of emergency, including the following:

  1. Temporary Permits.  This Order directs Board staff to issue 90-day temporary permits to non-resident facilities permitted in good standing in other states. It allows for a representative of the applicant to be interviewed by staff via telephone or other electronic means in lieu of appearing before the Nonresident Application Review Committee. Further, the Order delegates the ability to issue such permits to Board staff without the need for additional Board action. Finally, the Order directs Board staff to issue the permit within 24 hours after receipt of a completed application.

    Experts predict that we will soon be experiencing a major drug shortage due to restrictions on imports from China. If and when this occurs, the temporary permits will allow South Carolina pharmacies to (hopefully) dip further into the supply chain to order drugs. Additionally, it will allow hospitals and other facilities to reach out to manufacturers and other providers to seek needed drugs.
  2. Remote Order Entry. This Order suspends enforcement of the Board's prohibition on performing remote order entry from an unpermitted site. The Order, which largely comes in response to concerns expressed by small hospitals, will allow pharmacists and other pharmacy personnel to essentially work from home, provided certain conditions are met. This decision recognizes that COVID-19 is a risk to health care providers, in addition to patients. If a pharmacist employed by a small county hospital were to become infected with the virus, the hospital could be without the services of a pharmacist, at all, while he/she recovers. By allowing for this method of remote order entry, it reduces the pharmacist's risk and thereby increases the safety of patients.
  3. Order Providing Temporary Authorization For Use of Automated Pharmacy Pickup Kiosks
  4. Order Establishing Safe Harbor For Preparation of Pharmaceutical Prodcuts in Light of National Garb/PPE Shortage

Please continue to check the website for future Board actions.

Important Information from SC DHEC regarding the practice of pharmacy during this public health emergency

Controlled Substances

Due to COVID 19, along with the possible interruption of services and communications throughout South Carolina, SC DHEC Bureau of Drug Control hereby authorizes a ONE TIME early refill of Schedule III-V prescriptions for valid refills that are due within the next seven (7) days.  

Dispensers shall pull all original controlled substances prescriptions and document any early refill information in full detail; including, but not limited to, the date, time, reason for early refill, and the pharmacist signature associated with the transaction. Compliance with this Order supersedes any conflicting requirement of Regulation 61-4.

Schedule II Medications

In the case of an emergency situation, a pharmacist may dispense a controlled substance listed in Schedule II upon receiving oral authorization of a prescribing individual practitioner, provided that:

  1. The quantity prescribed and dispensed is limited to the amount adequate to treat the patient during the emergency period (dispensing beyond the emergency period shall be pursuant to a written prescription signed by the prescribing individual practitioner);
  2. The prescription shall be immediately reduced to writing by the pharmacist and shall contain all information requested in § 1003, except for the signature of the prescribing individual practitioner;
  3. If the prescribing individual practitioner is not known to the pharmacist, he or she shall make a reasonable effort to determine that the oral authorization came from a registered individual practitioner, which may include a callback to the prescribing individual practitioner using his or her phone number as listed in the telephone directory and/or other good faith efforts to insure his or her identity; and
  4. Within 72 hours after authorizing an emergency oral prescription, the prescribing individual practitioner shall cause a written prescription for the emergency quantity prescribed to be delivered to the dispensing pharmacist. In addition to conforming to the requirements of § 1003, the prescription shall have written on its face, "Authorization for Emergency Dispensing," and the date of the oral order. The written prescription may be delivered to the pharmacist in person or by mail; however, if delivered by mail, it shall be postmarked within the 72-hour period. Upon receipt, the dispensing pharmacist shall attach this prescription to the oral emergency prescription, which had earlier been reduced to writing. The pharmacist shall notify the Bureau Director if the prescribing individual practitioner fails to deliver a written prescription to him or her; failure of the pharmacist to do so shall void the authority conferred by this paragraph to dispense without a written prescription of a prescribing individual practitioner.