25 OCT 1991
Since the late 1970s, many Department of Defense and Coast Guard health care facilities
have offered nonprescription drug programs to their beneficiaries.
DISCUSSION. A nonprescription drug program is not an entitlement, but rather an optional
service offered by the military health care facility to its beneficiary population. These
programs are always contingent upon adequate funding and should not be conducted at the
expense of the availability of prescription items as addressed in reference (a). Without
adequate guidance, it is possible for nonprescription drug programs to become a burden, both
financially and administratively, to facilities. To avoid this, it is essential that strict limits be
maintained as to quantities and types of products available. Items offered will be limited to
inexpensive products available from the Defense Personnel Support Center which are
prepackaged and prelabeled according to FDA requirements and ready for consumer use.
POLICY. Coast Guard nonprescription drug programs shall operate under the following
Commanding officers of Coast Guard units with assigned health care personnel may elect
to operate nonprescription drug programs. This instruction does not extend this authority
to units staffed only by non-HS emergency medical technicians. Units electing to offer
nonprescription drug programs shall inform their respective MLC, and verify that they will
operate within these guidelines.
All Coast Guard health care facilities shall make condoms available to beneficiaries even
if they elect not to offer a nonprescription drug program. Condoms shall be made
available to beneficiaries under 18 years of age unless specifically forbidden by State law.
Items available shall be limited to those in enclosure (1). Units may elect not to offer every
product from this list but shall not select products other than those listed.
A beneficiary family shall be limited to a maximum two items per week from the program.
Occasionally, it may be necessary to extend this limit due to family size. Pharmacy and
Therapeutics Committees (if available) and collateral duty pharmacy officers shall provide
guidance for and monitor any such extensions.