How Pulse by NABP™ is Simplifying DSCSA Compliance for Pharmacies


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This November 2023, the entire pharmaceutical supply chain—including pharmacies—will need to comply with key provisions of the United States Drug Supply Chain and Security Act (DSCSA).

With this deadline rapidly approaching, the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy’s (NABP) goal is to simplify the process of achieving DSCSA compliance for pharmacies across the US through its brand-new digital platform: Pulse by NABP™.

Understanding DSCSA

Passed by Congress in 2013, DSCSA requirements are intended to further protect the US prescription drug supply chain, ensuring patients receive safe medication.

Several key DSCSA provisions have already been enacted since being passed in 2013. In November 2023, final requirements will go into effect. While these requirements affect the entire supply chain, pharmacies will play a significant role. As the final step in the supply chain, they help ensure the ecosystem remains secure through compliance with DSCSA.

Pharmacies’ DSCSA Responsibilities Today

Pharmacies’ existing DSCSA responsibilities are to:

Conduct business only with authorized trading partners such as properly licensed and registered wholesalers permitted to ship in your state.

Receive, store, and share product tracing information at the lot level and only accept prescription drugs that have the transaction information, history, and statement.

Establish procedures to investigate and properly handle suspect or illegitimate drugs.

Key Roles and Responsibilities Expand in November

An important element of the final November 2023 milestone requires the entire supply chain to become securely and electronically interoperable. This includes the ability to enable product tracing at the saleable package or homogenous (single lot number) case level.

Some additional essential considerations for pharmacies to meet DSCSA compliance requirements in November 2023 include:

  • Receive or exchange transaction information electronically with specific product identifiers for each saleable unit package with a transaction statement.
  • Ensure systems/processes for package-level verification when needed such as in the case of investigating a suspicious product.
  • Implement systems/processes to provide related serialized transaction information and statement if Food and Drug Administration (FDA), a state regulator, or a trading partner requests information for an investigation or any other DSCSA defined condition.
  • Select a serialization data solution provider or talk to your wholesaler(s) or any direct suppliers to see how they may be able to assist in storing transaction information.

Pharmacies are the last step in the drug supply chain. As the patient-facing final defense against drug fraud, pharmacists protect consumers from bad actors. By following the DSCSA act and related FDA guidance documents, pharmacies will have done their part in keeping the supply chain ecosystem safe and compliant.

Pulse Offers Connectivity, Tools for DSCSA Compliance

NABP has developed the digital Pulse platform as a resource for pharmacies to enable continued compliance. Pulse is a digital network developed by NABP that connects organizations across the supply chain. It allows trading partners and regulators to fulfill the core mission of DSCSA by working together to identify and remove fraudulent medications from the supply chain.

Pulse’s efficient, digital platform is designed for pharmacies of all sizes. Acting as a directory for the supply chain, Pulse enables pharmacists to respond to regulator trace requests, initiate verification requests to manufacturers, and initiate and respond to trading partner trace requests. These capabilities allow Pulse to operate in the background, leaving pharmacists’ day-to-day work unchanged.

With Pulse’s intuitive adoption process, pharmacists can focus on dispensing safe medication to patients with peace of mind.

Staying Ahead of the Curve with Pulse

Pulse is launching in late summer and will give DSCSA representatives from every US pharmaceutical trading partner the ability to create a user account, setup their company profile and ensure they are accessible to state regulators and trading partners for any DSCSA related interactions.This includes the future enhancements that will provide the ability to respond to state regulator tracing requests or initiate or respond to dispenser tracing requests following business confidentiality requirements of DSCSA.

NABP is also providing educational materials on DSCSA and Pulse to ensure resources are at users’ fingertips. Pharmacies can use these to train staff on becoming and remaining DSCSA-compliant.

Visit our website to begin your DSCSA compliance journey with and learn how Pulse can save you headaches later:

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