Narcotic Purchases

Published: August 15, 2012

Legislative References:
Additional references:

College Contact: Pharmacy Practice


The Narcotic Control Regulations (NCR) (s.27) establish rules for the distribution and purchase of narcotics. Narcotics may only be sold by a “licenced dealer” (wholesaler or distributor) meeting the requirements of the regulations and possessing a licence which permits them to sell narcotics. Licenced dealers are regulated by Health Canada through the NCR. Some of the processes for pharmacy are as a result of the requirements for licenced dealers and others are administrative in nature.


Designated Manager: a pharmacist in Part A of the register who is designated by the owner of the pharmacy, in information provided to the College, as the pharmacist responsible for managing the pharmacy (DPRA s. 146)

Narcotic Signer: a pharmacist who is designated by a pharmacy to be authorized to sign the documentation required under the Controlled Drug and Substances Act (Canada) or the regulations thereunder in order to obtain narcotics for the pharmacy. The form used to request adding a narcotic signer are available on the College website for download and fax to Applications & Renewals: Narcotic Signing Request Form (OCP Requirement)

Licenced Dealer: an individual, corporation or holder of a specified position that has been granted a licence, subject to terms and conditions, to produce, make, assemble, sell, provide, transport, send or deliver only narcotics specified in their licence. (NCR s.9 )

Requirements for Pharmacy:
  1. Persons authorized to order narcotics:
    Community Pharmacy

      1. a. Designated Manager: a pharmacist who is responsible for purchasing, receiving, storing, distributing, and disposing of drugs and medications in the pharmacy, including narcotics;
      b. Narcotic Signer: a pharmacist designated by the pharmacy to order and sign for narcotics;

    Hospital Pharmacy

      1. a. The person authorized by the person in charge of the hospital to order the narcotic;
      b. The pharmacist in charge of the dispensary of the hospital.
  2. The authority to sign for narcotics is specific to a particular pharmacy and cannot be used in multiple locations.
  3. A pharmacist can be named as a narcotic signer for multiple pharmacies individually authorized by the designated manager, director or owner of each pharmacy.
  4. On receipt of a narcotic ordered through a computer from a remote input device, a pharmacist or practitioner must return a signed and dated receipt to the licenced dealer within 5 days including the name and quantity of the narcotic.
  5. On receipt of the narcotics, purchases must be recorded on the Narcotic Purchase Record (see Narcotic Purchase Records Fact Sheet)

Requirements regarding Narcotic Invoices (Narcotic Control Regulations s. 27)
Pharmacists should be aware that any narcotic order placed through a computer or remote input device requires the pharmacist to return the signed receipt to the Licenced Dealer in 5 days. If the receipts are not received by the Licenced Dealer, further orders can be withheld from the pharmacy.