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Pharmacist FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions for Pharmacists on Veterinary Pharmacy / Veterinary Prescriptions


Q.  Must a veterinary prescription contain a DEA number for non-controlled drugs or an NPI number?

A.  No.   A veterinarian (or, for that matter, any other health care provider) who writes a prescription for a drug that is not a controlled substance does not need a DEA number to do so. Nor does North Carolina law require a DEA number to appear on a prescription for a non-controlled substance. Historically, there had been some confusion on this latter point under North Carolina law, but that confusion was laid to rest in 2008, as detailed in the FAQs at

Moreover, veterinarians are not eligible to obtain an NPI number. In 2013, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services clarified that veterinarians do not meet the regulatory definition of “health care provider” for purposes of obtaining an NPI. More information can be found at  

The Board appreciates, as always, pharmacists’ efforts to ensure that prescriptions comply with all applicable laws and rules. But demanding a DEA number for a non-controlled substance prescription and/or an NPI number from a veterinarian who is not eligible to obtain one is not required by law. And doing so can pose a barrier to timely, effective treatment of veterinary patients.



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