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Table 3 Corporate pharmacy policies (chain pharmacies)

From: Pharmacies as providers of expanded health services for people who inject drugs: a review of laws, policies, and barriers in six countries

Sites/interventions US (Boston) US (Providence) US (SF) Canada (Vancouver) Russia (St P)
Needle/syringe sales/distribution Corporate policy either specifically allows for or is silent on non-prescription sales of syringes. Most pharmacies sell needles/syringes but the law provides that sales of syringes is at the discretion of the pharmacist. Sales may be at the discretion of the on-site pharmacy manager Chains can enroll in Disease Prevention Demonstration Programs so individual stores can sell needles/syringes, but implementation within chains has been inconsistent.a Most chains sell needles/syringes but individual stores can set policies; many stores will not sell Chains have no objection to selling needles/syringes but would probably oppose free distribution
Needle/syringe disposal Pharmacies generally will not accept used syringes for disposal. Pharmacies generally will not accept used syringes for disposal. One chain allows; another prohibits Most chain pharmacies have sharps containers and accept full containers; individual store policies may differ Requires additional license for collecting and storage of epidemiologically hazardous waste
HIV testing HIV testing is not available in pharmacies. HIV testing is not available in pharmacies. Some pharmacies in one chain offered free HIV testing as part of National HIV testing month Not currently available Only at medically-licensed facility
HBV/other vaccination A recent change in pharmacy policy (MDPH, Drug Control Program and Immunization Program, Joint Policy 2012–2) permits administration of the hepatitis B vaccine in pharmacies to adults by a qualified pharmacist. Two major corporate chains have opened walk in clinics for adult vaccination including hepatitis B vaccines. Pharmacies may offer any vaccine including hepatitis B, pneumonia, shingles, pertussis, tetanus, meningitis and human papillomavirus. Most chains offer vaccinations Could be offered if staff are properly trained Only at medically-licensed facility
MMT/OST Federal Law prohibits dispensing methadone at retail pharmacies. Federal Law prohibits dispensing methadone at retail pharmacies. Prescriptions could be filled but DOT requires corporate approval Regularly dispensed by prescription Methadone is a prohibited psychoactive agent
Naloxone/overdose prevention/rescue Prescriptions for naloxone may be filled. Also see collaborative practice agreement comments above (Table 2). Prescriptions could be filled Individuals cannot obtain by prescription; pharmacies fill orders for clinics and other authorized organizations Not generally stocked by pharmacies
Abscess treatment Corporate policies support provision of information Corporate policies support provision of information Information about wound care can be provided Pharmacies refer customers to health clinic Pharmacies could offer information; requires display space
Brief counseling/materials Corporate policies support the provision of information. Corporate policies support the provision of information. Information about medications and health concerns can be provided Some pharmacies may have informational materials, but most do not Pharmacies could offer information; requires display space
Referrals Corporate policies support the provision of information. Corporate policies support the provision of information. Referrals can be made Pharmacies make referrals Pharmacies could offer
  1. aLutnick A, Cooper E, Dodson C, Bluthenthal R, Kral AH. Pharmacy syringe purchase test of nonprescription syringe sales in San Francisco and Los Angeles in 2010. J Urban Health 2012.doi:10.1007/s11524-012-9713-7.