Board of Registration in Pharmacy

The Board of Registration in Pharmacy provides a code of professional regulations for ensuring the highest degree of ethical practice by pharmacists. It also monitors pharmacists for attainment of critical educational requirements. The Board works to assure that consumers are receiving the highest quality prescription drug products at affordable prices.

The Board of Registration in Pharmacy is comprised of seven volunteer members, representing hospital, chain and independent pharmacies, and the public, with one consumer member.


Pharmacists prepare and dispense and/or distribute prescription drug products to consumers in hospitals, nursing homes, retail pharmacy departments and home care settings. They consult directly with patients, or with their caregivers, explaining proper use and storage of drug products and provide information on contraindications for use.

To become a Registered Pharmacist in Massachusetts, a candidate must have graduated from an approved school of pharmacy, completed a minimum of 1500 hours of practical experience as a pharmacy intern, and passed both the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy Licensing Examination (NABPLEX) and the Massachusetts Pharmacy Law Examination.

Pharmacists are responsible for ensuring that each prescription is filled accurately, that the dispensed medication will not interact adversely with other drugs and that each patient is screened for known allergies to medications. They are required to store medications under controlled conditions to safeguard against damage from heat, light or tampering.

Pharmacy Technicians

Technicians work under the direct supervision of registered pharmacists in the process of filling prescriptions. Technicians may have received on-the-job training or obtained comprehensive training through specialized courses at Board approved educational institutions.

Talk to Your Pharmacist

The Massachusetts Board of Registration in Pharmacy encourages you to speak with your health care professionals, including your pharmacist. You can play a significant role in your health care by taking a few minutes to talk with your doctor and pharmacist about the medications you are taking.

Before Taking Any Medication
Tell your health care provider and pharmacist about all prescription and nonprescription medicines that you take and why you take them. Be sure to tell them about known allergies to any medications or if you have problems taking any medicine. Also let them know if your are, or could be, pregnant and if you are a smoker.

Getting Your Prescription Filled
When you have a prescription filled for yourself or a family member, ask your pharmacist these questions:

  • What is the name and strength of the medication?
  • Why am I using the medication?
  • How should I use the medication, how often, and what time of day?
  • Will this medication interact with other medications I am using, including nonprescription medications?
  • What are the common side effects that may occur? What do I do in the event that I experience a side effect?
  • What do I do if I miss a dose?
  • How should I store my medications?
  • Should this medication be refilled?

It is important that you take medications as prescribed to avoid potentially serious, disabling health complications.

To avoid harmful drug interactions, get all your prescriptions filled at the same pharmacy. Or keep an accurate list of the medications you are taking and review it with your health care providers, including your pharmacists, if they are not familiar with your medical history.

Patient Counseling

Pharmacists are medication experts -
and one of their most important roles is to provide you with information about your medication.

  • Studies indicate that 83% of all prescription errors are discovered during patient counseling.

When presenting a new prescription, the pharmacist or designated person must offer to discuss issues that may be significant for your health and safety.

If you choose to accept this offer, the pharmacist will review your medical history for relevant information such as possible drug interactions and known allergies, and describe the proper use of your medication. The Board requires pharmacists to offer consultation regarding medications and the conditions which could result or be affected by the use of these medications to avoid injury and reduce medication errors. You may refuse this offer to counsel.

Getting Your Prescription Filled Online

If you are buying a prescription online, you you may wish to consider purchasing it from one of the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy's Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites. For more information, please read the "Internet Pharmacy" section of the NABP's home page.

Getting Your Prescription Filled Abroad

The federal government has created guidelines for travelers purchasing medications abroad. For more information, please go to this U.S. Food and Drug Administration Web page.

Importation of Prescriptions

Consumers should also be aware that there are strict regulations governing the importation of drugs. The United States Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. sections 331(d), and 355(a)), which is administered by FDA, prohibits the interstate shipment (which includes importation) of unapproved new drugs. For more information, please go to this FDA Web page.

This information is provided by the Division of Health Professions Licensure within the Department of Public Health.