Q: As a pharmacist, am I able to virtually counsel patients from other states? Are they 'virtually' in TN?
Hello, I am a Pharmacist in Tennessee, and I want to start an online pharmacist consulting business involving reviewing patient's medications, recommending optimal therapy based on best evidence, answering drug information questions and providing cost-savings by finding cheaper alternatives for medications in same therapeutic class for patients. I would additionally call the patient's doctor to recommend changes for a small fee, as well. I would like to perform these services for all US residents, but am I legally allowed to virtually counsel patients from other states? Can I say they are "virtually" in Tennessee? Also, would I need to register with the TN State Board of Pharmacy to conduct business?
Thank you so much, hopefully this can clear this issue up.
A: You are likely in need of a business attorney to advise regarding these points. I recommend you consult with an attorney for detailed answers to these questions and deeper discussions of potential legal risks in this new business plan and ways you may mitigate that risk.
The law generally treats people as being where they physically are for most purposes. I am unaware of any legal doctrine that people are virtually in one state, not the state they are physically in at the time they place a phone call. Certainly online businesses exist that offer nationwide services. Yet, pharmacists and other medical professionals may be subject to significant federal and state regulations that could be problematic for this business idea. Understanding the legal risk you may face before starting such a business venture could be wise. Good luck.
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