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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Inspections, Compliance, Enforcement, and Criminal Investigations

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CPG Sec. 460.500 Prescription Drugs for Ship's Medicine Chests



The question of supplying prescription-legend drugs for use on ships has arisen a number of times. It appears highly desirable for the medicine chest aboard a ship to be fully equipped for emergencies even though there may be no physician aboard. Under present methods of communication, the ship's officers can contact a physician by radio and at least get some guidance in the use of medications that may prove lifesaving.


Accordingly, we do not wish to place any obstacles in the way of stocking ships' medicine chests. We have never suggested or recommended any particular procedure that should be followed. The most that we have said is that we think the pharmacist or the firm supplying prescription drugs for use on ships should exercise reasonable care and assure themselves that the prescription drugs are in fact going to a ship's medicine chest and are not being diverted to improper channels.

Issued: 10/1/80