FAQ's (Frequently Asked Questions)


Law Questions

Licensing Questions
Continuing Education Requirements
DEA General Questions
DEA Internet Questions

Licensure Statistics


Law Questions

1. Q.  Can a prescription for a Controlled Substance III-V with 5 refills be filled more than 5 times, if the patient only receives partial fillings?

A.  Yes- the patient is due the full capacity of the original prescription.

2. Q.  Can a retail pharmacy take back a prescription that has been dispensed to a patient in a nursing home after the patient is deceased?

A.   No- once the prescription is dispensed it cannot be taken back into the pharmacy.  A nurse can destroy the prescribed medication with a witness present.

3. Q.  Can my technician have keys to the pharmacy to open up if I am going to be a few minutes late?

A.  No- only a licensed pharmacist can have keys to the pharmacy.

4. Q.  If a patient has a prescription and the physician has signed “Dispense as written” can I give the generic if I do not have the brand?

A.  No- the prescription must be filled as it is written.  The only way to give the generic is to call the physician and get approval.  Then you should write on the prescription, the name of the person who gave the approval and the date and time approved.

5. Q.  The doctor in my town gives his okay to change from a brand to the generic when he signs dispense as written.   Can I get a blanket letter from him stating it is okay to change when I do not have the brand medication?

A.  No

6. Q.  I am taking over as supervising pharmacist; do I need to take an inventory?

A.  Yes- when a pharmacist assumes the duties of supervising pharmacist, he or she must notify the Board within ten (10) days.  They must also take an inventory of all controlled substances to establish a baseline of responsibilities for these drugs.  It is recommended the inventory be taken with the outgoing supervising pharmacist if possible.

7. Q.  A municipal police officer wants a patient profile.  Do I have to give him one?

A.  Yes- State Law says that, prescriptions, orders and records of controlled substances enumerated in Schedules I, II, III, IV, and V shall be open for inspection only to federal, state, county and municipal officers, the investigators of the Board of Dental Examiners, and the agents and officers of the Department of Public Safety.

8. Q. The doctor wrote the wrong drug strength on a schedule III prescription.  Can I change the strength or does the patient have to get a new prescription?

A: The following changes can be made on a prescription written for Schedule III-V controlled substances only after consulting with the prescribing physician.

1.      pharmacist can add dosage form
      change the patient’s address
      drug strength
      drug quantity
      and directions for use

9. Q.  Can a physician post or pre date a prescription?

A.  No controlled substance prescription may be legally pre-dated or post-dated.  Federal regulations require that a controlled substance prescription be dated with the date of issuance.

10. Q.  Can I let my technician sign the invoices when the controlled drugs are delivered at the store?

A.  No- under Federal and State regulations, all receipts of controlled substances by a pharmacy shall be reviewed and approved by a pharmacist.  Said review and approval shall be documented by the signature of a pharmacist employed by the pharmacy permit holder on the supplier’s invoice.

11. Q.  Can I fill a prescription for “Office Use” in a physician’s office?

A.  No- a pharmacy is permitted to supply controlled drugs to a physician’s office provided the physician executes an order form for Schedule II drugs.  Distribution of Schedules III, IV, and V drugs to the physician’s office by a pharmacy must be evidenced by an invoice or other document.  One copy must be retained by the physician.  No controlled substances may be supplied to an office by prescription made out “for office use,” or any manner for patient and intended for office use.

12. Q. Can a pharmacy take a prescription back once it has been dispensed?

A.  No- a licensed pharmacy or pharmacist shall not accept for refund purpose or otherwise any unused portion of any dispensed prescription.

13. Q.  Can I leave prescriptions at the store next door when I close, so a patient can pick it up after I close?

A.  No- a pharmacy shall not authorize any person, firm, or business establishment to serve as a pick-up station or intermediary for the purpose of having prescriptions filled or delivered, whether for profit or gratuitously.

14. Q.  Can a pharmacy or pharmacist supply a practitioner a prescription blank containing the name and address of the pharmacy/pharmacist?

A.  No prescription blank supplied by a pharmacy or pharmacist to a practitioner shall bear the imprint thereon of the name or address of any pharmacy or bear the name or address of any person registered by the State Board.

15. Q.  How long is a pharmacy required to keep prescription files?

A.  A prescription file or files shall be kept by every pharmacy for a period of not less than two years in which the original of every prescription compounded or dispensed shall be filed in the order of compounding with number and date of dispensing placed on each prescription.  However, we recommend keeping them 5 years.

16. Q. If I have my files on a computer, do I have to retain a hard copy?

A.  Yes-a hard copy of each prescription in the order it is dispensed, including number and date, must be maintained for a period of not less than two (2) years.

17. Q.  If a patient is questionable on the abuse of narcotics; do I have to fill their prescription?

A.    No, you can refuse to fill any prescription you are not comfortable with.

18. Q.  Can a physician “fax” schedule II prescriptions?

A.    No, unless it is for a hospice patient, terminally ill patient, or resident of a Long Term Care Facility.


Q.  What do I do if I cannot fill a schedule II prescription with the full amount?

A.    You must fill the remainder within seventy-two (72) hours or call the doctor and tell him.

20 Q.  I am going to open up a business repacking medications, am I required to hire a pharmacist?

A.    Yes- state regulations require that you would have to employ a full time pharmacist, whose principal duty would be confined to on-premise pharmaceutical operations.

21. Q.  Can I be a supervising pharmacist at more than one pharmacy?

A.    Yes, if with the approval of the Board, it shall be not deemed to be supervising more than one (1) pharmacy where a pharmacist is supervising a pharmacy and, also, an institutional pharmacy which is open less than fifteen (15) hours per week.


Q.  What is the technician ratio?

A.    It is ruled by the Board of Pharmacy that three (3) technicians, one of which shall be certified through the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) or the Institute for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians (ICPT), on duty are sufficient in the prescription area of a retail pharmacy or an institutional pharmacy for each full time licensed pharmacist on duty.  If no technicians are certified then the ratio is two (2) to one (1).

23. Q.  Can a Physician’s Assistant write prescriptions for controlled substances?

A.    Yes.  Physician Assistant’s holding a registration agreement with an Alabama physician may prescribe CS III-V, requiring a personal Qualified Alabama Controlled Substance Certificate (QACSC) issued by the DEA .

24. Q.  Can controlled substances and legend drugs be on the same prescription?

A.    Yes

25. Q.  How many medications can be on a prescription?

A.  There is no limit as to the amount.

26. Q. Are there a specific number of prescriptions a pharmacist can fill each day?

A. No- whatever he is comfortable with filling each day.

27. Q.  Can I leave the pharmacy open when I take a lunch break?

A.  Yes, in any pharmacy that is staffed by a single pharmacist, the pharmacist may leave the pharmacy area or department, temporarily, for breaks and meal periods without closing the pharmacy and removing interns/externs and technicians from the pharmacy, if the pharmacist reasonably believes that the security of the controlled substances will be maintained in his or her absence.


Q.  How long are meal periods?

A.  The meal period is limited to thirty (30) minutes.  The pharmacist shall remain within the facility during the break period and be available to handle all emergency situations.

Licensing Questions
1. Q.  Does a pharmacist have to keep his CE’s in the pharmacy?

A.  No- it is your responsibility to keep up with them.  They can be kept at home or at the pharmacy.

2. Q.  What is the procedure for closing my pharmacy?

A.  You must notify the Board of the date of closing, provide written notification of the whereabouts of the remaining drugs and the prescription files.  You must return the permit and controlled substance license for the current year, and send the Board a copy of the controlled substance inventory taken at the close of business.  Contact DEA and send them any unused 222 Forms and your DEA registration.

3. Q.  How can I become a parenteral pharmacist?

A.  You must attend a five (5) hour seminar for parenteral pharmacists, and the seminar must meet the criteria listed on the prior approval form for parenteral program certification approved by the Board.

4. Q.  What is the procedure for relocating my pharmacy?

A.  Contact the Board office, and submit the necessary paperwork.  An investigator will have to inspect the new location prior to relocating.

5. Q.  Can a pharmacist’s license or a technician’s registration be placed on an inactive status?

A.  No- there is currently no inactive status.  The license will become null and void due to non-payment.  All fees plus penalties must be paid if brought up to date at a later time.  Pharmacist- After five (5) years you must take the MPJE exam and be interviewed by the Board.

6. Q.  How long must a pharmacist be licensed before he/she can become a preceptor?

A.  Two (2) years.

7. Q.  How can I obtain a copy of Title 34 and the Pharmacy Practice Act?

A.  You can print a copy from our website at www.albop.com, or send a check for $7.00 to Alabama State Board of Pharmacy, 111 Village St, Hoover, AL 35242.


Q.  How can I get a pharmacy technician registration form?


A.  You can contact our office for any forms you need and they will be faxed or mailed to you, or you can print any form from our website at www.albop.com.


Q.  Is there a training period for technicians, before a registration is needed?


A.  No-they must have their registration in hand prior to performing any work as a technician.


Q.  How many CE hours does a pharmacist have to have per year?  How many hours can be carried over from the previous year?


A.  A pharmacist has to have participated in not less than fifteen (15) hours of approved CE per year, three (3) hours of which shall be of “live” exposure.  Hours of credit in excess of the minimum annual requirement may be carried forward for credit in the succeeding calendar year; however, no more than an excess of twelve (12) hours shall be carried to the succeeding calendar year.  Notwithstanding the above carry over provision, no less than three (3) “live” hours shall be obtained in each calendar year.


Q.  Does a technician have to have CE hours?


A.  Yes- a technician must have three (3) hours of CE every year.  One (1) of those CE hours must be a “live” credit hour.  Technicians are not allowed to carry over any hours from the previous year.


Q.  What are the requirements for becoming a consultant?


A.  Contact our office for the necessary paperwork.  Pharmacist must have taken the initial consultants course and have successfully completed an examination with a passing score of 75%.  The initial certification course shall be a ten (10) hour approved course consisting of the following subject matter:

1.      Regulations and laws, both state and federal, pertaining to services by consultant pharmacist.

2.      Policy and Procedures

3.      Administrative Responsibilities

4.      Professional Responsibilities

5.      Consultant Pharmacy Opportunities- History and Overview

6.      Drug Regimen Review

7.      Ethics in Consultant Pharmacy

8.      Impact of Consultant Pharmacy on the Total Healthcare System

9.      Drug Therapy/Disease State Monitoring


Attend a seminar for consultant training of not less than six (6) live integrated hours approved by the Board not less than every year.  Hours cannot be carried over.  Not less than two (2) integrated hours shall be approved for any consultant re-certification CE program.

Fill out the ONLINE Consultant Application HERE.


Continuing Education Requirements

Pharmacists shall obtain no less than 15 hours of approved continuing (CE), three hours of which shall be of “live” exposure.  Hours in excess of the minimum annual requirement may be carried forward to the succeeding calendar year; however, no more than 12 hours shall be carried over and no less than three “live” hours shall be obtained in each calendar year. 

Consultant pharmacists shall obtain annually no less than six “live” consultant approved hours in not less than two “live” increments.  No “live” consultant hours can be carried over from each calendar year.  ONLINE Consultant Application.

Preceptor pharmacists must attend a preceptor approved training seminar at least once every three years. 

Parenteral pharmacists shall have attended a one-time, five-hour approved parenteral certification course, including didactic and hands-on experience, requiring a written exam as part of the training.

Nuclear pharmacists shall attend no less than a one hour, nuclear approved CE course each year.

Registered pharmacy technicians shall obtain not less than three hours of approved CE, one hour of which shall be of “live” exposure.  No hours in excess of the minimum requirement may be carried forward to the succeeding calendar year.



DEA General Questions

For D.E.A. questions and answers, please read them here.

DEA Internet Questions
For D.E.A. internet questions, please read them here.


Licensure Statistics

Licensure Statistics as of January 2009

Chain 669   Active 6705
Clinic 5   Deceased 244
Community 605   Inactive (no current license) 2240
Distributor of Chemicals 43   Probation 118
Hospital 138   Revoked 20
Mail Order 102   Suspended 51
Mfg/Whse/Distributor 1227      
Non-Resident Pharmacy 498   ALABAMA TECHNICIANS  
Nuclear 16   Registered Approx 13,000


4   Registered & PTCB 3,236
Retail Medical Oxygen Supplier 384   Actively engaged in practice 8840


revised 10/19/2010
Alabama Board of Pharmacy
111 Village St
Hoover, AL 35242
Voice: 205-981-2280   Fax: 205.981.2330