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SSG Emergency Order

October 09, 2018

In an effort to keep our health care partners informed and prepared to facilitate care during Hurricane Michael, please see Governor Rick Scott’s Executive Order declaring a state of emergency covering 35 counties in the Florida Panhandle and Big Bend. Following a request from Governor Scott, President Donald Trump approved a pre-landfall emergency declaration. This declaration will provide important resources and assistance from the federal government, including personnel, equipment and supplies, as well as making available funding sources for emergency protective measures.  

As State Surgeon General, I have also issued an emergency order. This emergency order allows health care professionals holding a valid, unrestricted and unencumbered license in any state, territory, and/or district to assist our state with response and recovery efforts and also provides a reporting extension to the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) for counties included in the Governor’s Executive Order. I would also like to note that per statute, if the PDMP is nonoperational or if it cannot be accessed by the prescriber or dispenser because of temporary technical or electrical failure, there is no duty to consult prior to dispensing.


Operating Mobile Pharmacies Under The Emergency Order

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

MQA.Pharmacy@flhealth.gov

(850)245-4292

The affected counties where mobile units may operate under Florida pharmacy permits include:

  • Bay
  • Calhoun
  • Franklin
  • Gadsden
  • Gulf
  • Hamilton
  • Jackson
  • Jefferson
  • Leon
  • Liberty
  • Madison
  • Suwannee
  • Taylor
  • Wakulla

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.