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ListServ Archive Message: Sharps and Medication Disposal

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Subject:    Pharmacies can sell syringes if they provide disposal options (AB 1743)
Date Sent:    February 25, 2015

As of January 1, 2015, pharmacies throughout the state may sell an unlimited number of syringes without a prescription as part of statewide efforts to reduce the spread of HIV, hepatitis C, and other blood-borne pathogens. Pharmacies that sell syringes without a prescription are required to counsel customers on safe syringe disposal and provide syringe collection and/or disposal options.

Assembly Bill 1743 (Ting, Section 331, Statutes of 2014) removes restrictions on pharmacy practice to allow nonprescription sale of syringes (NPSS) through licensed pharmacies throughout the state. Physicians and pharmacists may now furnish or sell an unlimited number of syringes without a prescription to adults 18 years of age or older for disease prevention purposes. California law also now allows adults anywhere in the state to purchase and possess an unlimited number of syringes for personal use when acquired from an authorized source. California code specifies that pharmacists, physicians, and syringe exchange programs are all authorized sources of nonprescription syringes. Pharmacies anywhere in the state may provide NPSS and do not have to register with their local health department to do so.

Pharmacies that sell syringes without a prescription must counsel NPSS customers about safe disposal and provide for the safe disposal of needles and syringes through one or more of the following options:

  • by providing an on-site syringe collection and disposal program; and/or

  • by furnishing or making available sharps disposal containers; and/or

  • by furnishing or making available mail-back sharps disposal containers.


Pharmacies that provide NPSS must also provide written information or verbal counseling to NPSS customers on how to access drug treatment, access testing and treatment for HIV and hepatitis C and how to safely dispose of sharps waste. A Patient Information Sheet developed by the California Department of Public Health, Office of AIDS and available for download at covers this information above and can be provided to pharmacy customers.  The same website provides additional information about the law and resources for pharmacists and customers.

For more information, please contact Alessandra Ross, Injection Drug Use Specialist at 916-449-5796 or

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