Dispensing Drugs From a Medical Practice

Q1. Can a physician dispense prescription drugs (not samples) such as IV preparations that the patient would self-administer at home?

Q2. Can a physician purchase medications from a pharmacy or a drug company and sell them to his or her patients?

A. Generally, a physician may not “provide, dispense, or distribute” drugs from his or her practice, except for the patient’s immediate needs, which has been defined as “until the patient can access a pharmacy.” You may not charge for these drugs.

  • If the drugs are samples you received free from the drug manufacturer, you can dispense them for the entire course of treatment so long as labeling requirements are met and you don’t charge for the drugs.
  • Similarly, you can dispense to patients, at no charge, drugs you receive free from the drug manufacturer for an indigent pharmaceutical program.

State law allows an exception for physicians in certain rural areas, who may dispense drugs to patients “for the cost of supplying those drugs.” These physicians must notify the medical board and the Texas Board of Pharmacy that they live in a rural area and must follow other requirements spelled out in the law.

Texas Medical Board rules, Chapter 169, rules and Texas Occupations Code, Chapter 158, address physicians’ ability to supply drugs to their patients.

Have a question about health law, compliance, practice management, or TMA membership, or other practice help question? Call the TMA Knowledge Center at (800) 880-7955 or email knowledge[at]texmed[dot]org.

The Texas Medical Association provides this information with the express understanding that (1) no attorney-client relationship exists, (2) neither TMA nor its attorneys are engaged in providing legal advice, and (3) the information is of a general character. This is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney. While every effort is made to ensure that content is complete, accurate, and timely, TMA cannot guarantee the accuracy and totality of the information contained in this publication and assumes no legal responsibility for loss or damages resulting from the use of this content. You should not rely on this information when dealing with personal legal matters; rather legal advice from retained legal counsel should be sought. Any legal forms are only provided for the use of physicians in consultation with their attorneys. Certain links provided with this information connect to websites maintained by third parties. TMA has no control over these websites or the information, goods, or services provided by third parties. TMA shall have no liability for any use or reliance by a user on these third-party websites.  

Published Aug. 30, 2017 

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Last Updated On

August 31, 2017

Originally Published On

August 30, 2017

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