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How to Open a Pharmacy in California

Aug 18, 2020 | California

How Does One Legally Open an Independent Pharmacy in the State of California?

Let’s look into the requirements of legally opening a pharmacy in California set forth by state law.

California Business and Professions Code Section 4110

Business and Professions Code Section 4110 states, “No person shall conduct a pharmacy in the State of California unless he or she has obtained a license from the board. A license shall be required for each pharmacy owned or operated by a specific person. A separate license shall be required for each of the premises of any person operating a pharmacy in more than one location. The license shall be renewed annually.”

This license can be granted to an individual, firm, corporation, or any other entity that seeks to open a pharmacy. The application process will require that one send in financial information and criminal history.

California Business and Professions Code Section 4113

In accordance with BPC section 4113, the pharmacy must designate a pharmacist-in-charge. The pharmacist-in-charge is a licensed pharmacist in the state of California who has been designated approval from the California State Board of Pharmacy. They are responsible for ensuring that the pharmacy follows all laws and regulations.

California Business and Professions Code Section 4150

It is important to note that once these requirements are fulfilled, pharmacies in California may not operate as a traditional corporation or LLC. Instead, they must register as a professional corporation in accordance with the California Corporations Code Section 4150 and get approval from the secretary of state.

Due to the fact that pharmacies in California are classified as professional corporations, they are subject to more extensive licensing requirements than traditional businesses. A pharmacy must register itself with the California State Board of Pharmacy, and designate a pharmacist-in-charge, who is responsible for ensuring that they follow all laws and regulations associated with operating a pharmacy.

This section also specifies information involved with pharmacy shareholders. With some exceptions, shareholders and directors of the pharmacy must be licensed pharmacists. The section states, “Each shareholder, director, and officer of a pharmacy corporation, except an assistant secretary and an assistant treasurer, shall be a licensed person [to practice pharmacy]” Therefore, shares cannot be sold to someone without a pharmacy license in California unless they are an assistance secretary or assistant treasurer.