Drug Dispensing FAQs

No. There is no requirement or expectation that a physician, dentist or podiatrist dispense pharmaceuticals. In addition, a physician, dentist or podiatrist without a dispensing permit may dispense non chargeable pharmaceutical samples and starter dosages to patients under certain conditions. See Health Occupations Article, 12-102(d) and (f), Annotated Code of Maryland.

Administering is treating the patient in the prescriber’s office with the medication. Dispensing is giving the prescription drug to the patient to take home. As noted above, giving samples and starter doses to patients to take home does not require a dispensing permit.
Any provider who dispenses prescription drugs to a patient for a fee or receives compensation or reimbursement from an insurance company or a third party, must have a dispensing permit.
No. Professional Boards issue Dispensing Permits to the practitioner and not the practice location. If prescriptions will be dispensed in more than one location, a dispensing permit is required to be displayed at each location where prescription drugs are dispensed. A copy of the dispensing permit is acceptable to display where there are multiple practice addresses.
Public interest means the dispensing of prescription drugs by a licensee to a patient when a pharmacy is not conveniently available to the patient. COMAR
A dispensing permit is NOT required for the dispensing of devices, fluorides and OTC anti-fungals. However, products bearing the label “Federal law prohibits dispensing without a prescription” will be treated as prescription items.
Licensed dentists, physicians, and podiatrists are required to obtain a dispensing permit if they dispense prescription drugs to patients under their direct care who have informed the provider that a pharmacy is not conveniently available. The licensee shall maintain documentation that should include a single form in each patient's chart for each patient to whom prescription drugs are dispensed. At a minimum, the form shall:
  1. Indicate the reason, as stated by the patient, that a pharmacy is not conveniently available to that patient;
  2. Include a statement signed by the patient indicating that the patient understands that the determination that a pharmacy is not conveniently available is made solely by the patient; and
  3. Be signed and dated by the patient before dispensing prescription drugs to the patient for the first time. See
A licensee obtains a dispensing permit from the appropriate Board. The application shall require the following information to indicate that the licensee is dispensing in the public interest:
  • The name, address, and license number of the applicant;
  • A certificate by the applicant that the applicant shall comply with the:
    1. Dispensing regulations in COMAR and;
    2. Is thoroughly familiar with the statute and regulations which govern dispensing of prescription drugs set forth in Health Occupations Article, Title 12, Annotated Code of Maryland, and COMAR 10.34 (Board of Pharmacy).

The dispensing requirements are set forth in COMAR as follows:

  • A licensee shall submit an application to the appropriate Board on the form that the Board requires.
  • A licensee may not dispense prescription drugs until a written permit is received from the appropriate Board, except that a written permit is not required in order to dispense starter dosages or samples provided without charge.
  • A licensee shall dispense prescription drugs only to the patients of the licensee.
  • A licensee shall comply with the labeling requirements of Health Occupations Article, §12-509, Annotated Code of Maryland.
  • A licensee shall record the dispensing of the prescription drug on the patient's chart.
  • A licensee may not have a substantial financial interest in a pharmacy.
  • A licensee shall allow the Office of Controlled Substances Administration to enter and inspect the licensee's office at all reasonable hours.
  • A licensee shall, except for starter dosages or samples provided without charge, provide the patient with a written prescription.
  • A licensee shall maintain a separate file for Schedule II prescriptions. All other prescriptions shall be kept:
    1. In another file and
    2. For 5 years.
  • A licensee shall dispense prescription drugs to a patient only when a pharmacy is not conveniently available to the patient. The decision whether a pharmacy is conveniently available shall be made by the patient based upon factors to be determined solely at the discretion of the patient.
  • A licensee shall display prominently a sign which informs the patient that prescription drugs can be purchased from the permit holder only if the patient determines that a pharmacy is not conveniently available to the patient. COMAR
  • The sign must also describe the process for resolving incorrectly filed prescriptions, unless this information is provided in writing with each prescription Health Occupations Article, 12-102 (c)(1)(i)(4).

  1. This law requires all individual licensees with dispensing permits to complete ten continuing education credits over a 5 year period relating to the preparing and dispensing of prescription drugs, offered by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) or as approved by the Secretary of MDH.
  2. The continuing education credit requirement shall be implemented in accordance with Ch. 267, §2, Acts of 2012.

To support an option to ACPE, the Secretary has approved the following Board Approved Continuing Education Resources - Preparing and Dispensing Prescription Drugs.
Yes. Under the law, the dentist, physician, and podiatrist is required to complete 10 Continuing Education Credits over a 5-year period relating to the preparing and dispensing of prescription drugs as a condition of permit renewal. See Health Occupations Article, 12-102, Annotated Code of Maryland.
A licensee who fails to comply with the requirements governing dispensing of prescription drugs may be subject to disciplinary action by the practitioner’s licensing Board.
Chapter 267 of 2012 requires the Board to charge a fee to approximate, but not to exceed, the documented costs for inspections of dispensing permit holders. The total fee is $1,050 ($1,000 is collected for the Office of Controlled Substances Administration (OCSA) inspections. $50 is retained by the Board as a processing fee).


Permit application and related Board-Approved Continuing Education Course information is listed in the link below.