The Georgia State Board of Pharmacy has adopted the following policy for pharmacies and pharmacists to following during declared periods of emergency, specifically during this emergency for Hurricane Matthew. Please use these policies as your guidelines to ensure that our citizens and the evacuees in our state receive their necessary medications:
Section 1. Purpose and Scope
The primary purpose of this policy is to enable pharmacists and pharmacies to assist in
the management and containment of a public emergency or similar crisis within the
confines of a regulatory framework that serves to protect the welfare and health of the
public. The Board will consider petitions for rule waivers or variances regarding recordkeeping,
minimum physical area, and minimal equipment requirements related to the
state of emergency in the declared disaster areas and affected areas on an emergency
basis, pursuant to a written request in a manner consistent with the Board’s authority
under state law and/or the Governor’s State of Emergency.
Section 2. Definitions.
For the purposes of this policy, the following definitions apply:
(a) “Affected Areas” include areas covered by the state of emergency.
(b) “Declared Disaster Areas” are areas designated by state or federal authorities
as those that have been adversely affected by a natural or man-made disaster
and require extraordinary measures to provide adequate, safe, and effective
health care for the affected population.
(c) “Mobile Pharmacy” means a pharmacy that is self-propelled or movable by
another vehicle that is self-propelled.
(d) “State of Emergency” means a governmental declaration issued by the
Governor of the State of Georgia or the President of the United States which
may suspend certain normal functions of government, alert citizens to alter
their normal behaviors, and/or direct government agencies to implement
emergency preparedness plans.
(e) “Temporary Pharmacy Facility” means a facility established as a result of a
state of emergency to temporarily provide pharmacy services within or
adjacent to declared disaster areas.
Section 3. Emergency Refill Dispensing
(a) For the duration of the state of emergency issued in the affected area and
consistent with O.C.G.A. §26-4-80(j), a pharmacist may dispense a 72 hour
refill supply of a prescription drug repeatedly to a patient, but in total not more
than a thirty (30) day supply, without practitioner authorization if:
(1) The refill is not for a controlled substance;
(2) In the pharmacist’s professional judgment, the prescription drug is
essential to the maintenance of the patient’s life or to the continuation of
(3) The pharmacist makes a good faith effort to reduce the information to a
form that may be maintained for the time required by law or rule, indicates
it is an “emergency refill prescription,” and maintains the record as
required by state and federal law and as required by state and federal
disaster agencies for consideration for possible reimbursement programs
implemented to ensure continued provision of care during a disaster or
(4) The pharmacist informs the patient or the patient’s agent at the time of
dispensing that the prescription drug is being provided without the
practitioner’s authorization and that authorization of the practitioner is
required for future refills; and
(5) When emergency conditions permit, the pharmacist notifies the
practitioner that the refill occurred.
Section 4. Temporary Recognition of Non-Resident Licensure
(a) When a state of emergency is declared and consistent with O.C.G.A. §26-4-43:
(1) A pharmacist not licensed in this state, but currently licensed in another
state, may obtain a temporary license to dispense prescription drugs in
areas affected by the declared disaster during the time that the state of
emergency exists if:
(i) The Board can verify current licensure in good standing of the
pharmacist directly with the state or indirectly via a third-party
verification system; and
(ii) The pharmacist is engaged in a documented relief effort.
(2) A pharmacy technician or pharmacy intern not registered or licensed in
this State, but currently registered or licensed in another state, may assist
the pharmacist in dispensing prescription drugs in affected disaster areas
during the time that the state of emergency exists if:
(i) The Board can verify current registration or licensure in good
standing of the pharmacy technician or pharmacy intern directly with
the state or indirectly via a third-party verification system; and
(ii) The pharmacy technician or pharmacy intern is engaged in a
documented relief effort.
(b) The temporary recognition of non-resident pharmacist licensure and pharmacy
intern licensure shall cease at end of the month following the third board
meeting conducted after the issuance of such license and shall not be renewed.
The temporary recognition of non-resident pharmacy technician registration
shall registration shall cease with the termination of the state of emergency.
Section 5. Temporary Pharmacy Facilities or Mobile Pharmacies
(a) Consistent with the authority in O.C.G.A. §26-4-110, and if necessary to
provide pharmacy services during a state of emergency, pharmacies located in
declared disaster areas and non-resident pharmacies may arrange to
temporarily locate or relocate to a temporary pharmacy facility or mobile
pharmacy if the temporary pharmacy facility or mobile pharmacy:
(1) Is under the control and management of the pharmacist-in charge or
designated supervising pharmacist;
(2) Is located within the declared disaster area or affected areas;
(3) Notifies the Board of its location, subject to approval by the Board in
accordance with (b);
(4) Is properly secured to prevent theft and diversion of drugs;
(5) Maintains records in accordance with laws and regulations of the state in
which the disaster occurred; and
(6) Ceases the provision of services with the termination of the state of
emergency, unless it is successfully licensed by the Board of Pharmacy in
accordance with the Georgia Pharmacy Practice Act and applicable rules.
(b) The Board shall have the authority to approve or disapprove temporary
pharmacy facilities and mobile pharmacies and shall make arrangements for
appropriate monitoring and inspection of the temporary pharmacy facilities and
mobile pharmacies on a case-by-case basis. Approval of temporary pharmacy
facilities and mobile pharmacies will be based on the need, type, and scope of
the state of emergency, as well as the ability of the temporary pharmacy
facilities or mobile pharmacies to comply with state and federal drug law.
(c) A temporary pharmacy facility wishing to permanently operate at its temporary
site must be licensed by the Board in accordance with the Georgia Pharmacy
Practice Act and applicable Board rules.
(d) Mobile pharmacies, placed in operation during a state of emergency, may not
operate permanently, unless approved by the Board.