04 Nov Your Licensing Questions Answered
Blessings International has a unique ordering process, and as such, it can raise questions. Let us clarify those questions for you and provide some backstory.
In 2015, when the Oklahoma State Board of Pharmacy inquired into our organization’s policies for the first time, they wanted to be certain that we were sending pharmaceuticals only to those who are legally able to maintain and dispense medicine.
With the State Board of Pharmacy’s approval, we implemented ordering policies that require all orders to have a copy of an MD’s or DO’s medical license, thus recording that orders are overseen and received by a licensed physician.
We have high respect for all levels of medical practice, so this was not an easy decision. It was, however, necessary in order to protect not only our license, but also the license of every medical provider who orders from us.
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Our License/Shipping Policy
Below are twelve of the most commonly asked licensing questions we receive.
1. I can legally prescribe medicine; why do I need an MD or DO’s license on my order?
While we value the expertise of all medical professionals, the reason we must make the distinction comes down to the difference between prescribing and dispensing. Based on our standing with the Oklahoma Board of Pharmacy, we can only send medicines to those medical professionals who are able to dispense—rather than prescribe—medicine.
2. I’m not an MD or DO, but I used to be able to order. Why do I need a physician’s license now?
In 2015, we developed new policies to comply with the Oklahoma State Board of Pharmacy’s requirements.
The new policies we made were not easy decisions, but they were made to eliminate risk. In the words of CEO Barry Ewy, “Any risk that’s created for Blessings International from a regulatory standpoint creates risk that we’re not available to provide for medical mission teams in the future and we just can’t afford that risk.”
3. What can a dentist order?
Items on our dental order form are specific to dental practice, and also include OTCs, vitamins, and supplies. Any pharmaceutical item that is not perioral requires an MD or DO’s license attached to the order. (For a complete list of products that can be ordered under a dentist’s license, see a sample dental order form here.)
4. Do I need a physician’s license if I only want to order OTC medicines, vitamins, and supplies?
There is no need for a medical doctor’s license on orders containing OTC medicines, vitamins, and medical supplies. These orders are also allowed to be sent to private addresses.
5. Can Blessings ship to a nurse/nurse practitioner/pharmacist/physician assistant/etc?
Because we need to provide proof that our medicines are sent to medical professionals who are legally able to maintain and dispense pharmaceuticals, we have an agreement with the Oklahoma State Board of Pharmacy that we will only ship to MDs or DOs at the address on their license. (NB: this is not the case with international direct shipments.) This policy protects our license as well as the licenses of those who order from us.
6. In my state, nurse practitioners can legally dispense medicine. Does this mean I can place an order without an MD or DO’s license?
We would love to be able to send to nurse practitioners, but the distinction for our policy comes down to a medical professional’s ability to legally maintain and dispense all medicines. While some states, for example, allow nurse practitioners to maintain a medical sample and/or dispense a first dose, there is a greater number of states that do not allow nurse practitioners to maintain and dispense. Because the majority of states do not allow this, we must reduce the risk of exposing Blessings International to possible licensure penalty from accidentally shipping to a state where maintaining and dispensing is not legal. In order to serve all our partners long-term, we protect our license by having adopted this policy.
7. Do you plan to change your policy?
If a majority of states allowed full dispensing privileges to nurse practitioners or physician assistants, for example, it’s likely we would be able to include these medical professionals in our order policy in the future.
8. Why do medical orders have to be shipped to the address on the physician’s license?
Per the Oklahoma State Board of Pharmacy’s requirements, we can only ship to individuals and locations that are legally able to maintain pharmaceuticals. Thus, requiring an MD’s or DO’s license on every order is two-fold: 1) it provides proof that we are sending to a medical professional legally able to maintain and dispense all medicines, and 2) the medical license also provides a shipping address, which is proof that we are sending to a place that is licensed to maintain medicine.
9. Is Blessings International licensed to ship to my state?
We are legally able to ship to 48 states, as well as the District of Columbia. You can view your state’s eligibility and information here.
10. What alternatives do I have if Blessings can’t ship to my state?
If team members that have proper licensing are available in a state for which we are licensed, we can ship there. You could also arrange to pick up your order from our facility. Also, we may be able to direct export your order to the country where you will be serving.
11. Is my medical license at risk if I order from an organization that does not have licensure to ship to my state?
In a word, yes. Because we want to protect the licenses of those doing charitable medical work, we are very studious about following all states’ licensing laws. While we understand you may need to order from more than one source, we urge you to inquire about each source’s licensing status in your state. We want to protect your license so that you can continue to heal the hurting.
12. Who can I talk to for help regarding these policies?
We are always happy to answer questions. Please call us at (918) 250-8101 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Our CEO, Barry Ewy, PharmD., JD, would be willing to discuss licensure from a medical and legal perspective to help you navigate this process.
The policies we have developed protect not only our license but the licenses of those who order from us. We want to eliminate risk so that we can continue to serve not only today, but for many years to come.