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Pharmacist FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions for Pharmacists on Long Term Care Facilities

Q: May a pharmacy that services a nursing home install an automated dispensing device (e.g., Pyxis) to dispense controlled substances at the nursing home?

A: In May 2005, the DEA promulgated a rule that allows, where state law permits, a retail pharmacy to install an automated dispensing system at a long term care facility.  These systems allow dispensing of single dosage controlled-substance units, and can mitigate the problem of excess controlled-substance stocks and disposal.

Under Board rules, an automated dispensing device may only be installed at a facility holding a pharmacy permit.  It is the consensus of the Board that limited service permits may be obtained for the installation of automated dispensing systems in long term care facilities.

The DEA rule, found at 21 C.F.R. § 1301.17(c) and § 1301.27, provides that, upon receiving authorization from appropriate state authorities, a pharmacy may apply for an additional DEA registration to operate the automated dispensing system at a long term care facility.  Pharmacists who serve long term care facilities are encouraged to investigate the use of automated dispensing systems.   The potential public health and safety benefits are significant.


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