On Monday, October 8, 2018, Dr. Celeste Philip issued Department of Health Emergency Order 18-276. This order suspended the operation of certain statutes and rules governing the practice of pharmacy in this state in an effort to respond to the emergency caused by Hurricane Michael. In pertinent part, the Emergency Order suspends the “provisions of chapter[ ]… 465, Florida Statutes, and rules promulgated thereunder, that if applied, would operate to limit distribution, dispensing, or administration of otherwise legitimate prescription drugs in a manner that could hinder, prevent, or delay mitigation of any health-related condition….”
The Emergency Order effectively suspends the requirements of Rule 64B16-28.113, Florida Administrative Code, that only a single entity and single location can operate under one pharmacy permit number, and that the pharmacy may not operate more than one-half mile from the central location of that permit. The Emergency Order thereby allows pharmacies with a clear and active permit in the state of Florida to operate a mobile pharmacy unit in one of the most severely affected counties listed below. A pharmacy holding a Florida permit can deploy one or more mobile units that are tied to the original pharmacy permit location and operate under that permit in an affected county. It is important to know that the Prescription Department Manager for the Florida licensed pharmacy still maintains responsibility for a mobile unit’s operation in an affected county, and the mobile unit must be secure. Under this temporary suspension of the rule, a mobile pharmacy is permitted to set up at the same address where a shelter housing displaced or special needs individuals is located, so long as the unit is secure and the Board of Pharmacy is notified.
Primary Florida pharmacy permit holders operating mobile pharmacies in an affected county must notify the Florida Board of Pharmacy that they intend to operate a mobile unit, or multiple mobile units, and their intended and exact locations while the Emergency Order permits that operation. The Drug Enforcement Agency may also contact the Florida Board of Pharmacy to verify the operation of mobile pharmacy units under existing license numbers. The primary means of contact to provide and obtain this information is:
Ahjia Ponders, Regulatory Supervisor
The affected counties where mobile units may operate under Florida pharmacy permits include:
The Emergency Order also allows pharmacists and registered pharmacy technicians holding clear and active licenses in other states to assist in recovery efforts in Florida. This would include working in one of the mobile units linked to a Florida pharmacy permit.