Pharmacy laws:
Pharmacy licensure laws are vague in their scope of practice with regard to nutrition care and may include language as broad as allowing for consultation to promote health, prevent disease, or avoid the consequences of lifestyles and behaviors that pose health risks, or as narrow and specific as consultation for drug-food interactions. These laws can be interpreted as including or not including nutrition care.

Nutrition laws:
Nutrition licensing laws commonly have exemptions providing varying degrees of protection for licensed health care providers who offer nutrition care. There are some states that specifically acknowledge Pharmacists in this category. For many states however, it is up for interpretation whether Pharmacists are covered by this broad health professions exemption. It is thus unclear whether Pharmacists are able to legally use nutrition tools, and if so, to what extent.

When can you use nutrition tools in your practice:
As a Pharmacist it is important to review the specific scope of practice of your Pharmacy licensure law to see if it outlines a clear right to use nutrition tools.  You can practice if:

  • Your state nutrition law specifically identifies Pharmacists among the exemptions for health professions.
  • Your state’s Pharmacy law explicitly outlines nutrition care.  In this case you can legally use nutrition tools as outlined by your Pharmacy scope of practice.
  • Your state’s nutrition law in your state is a licensure without exclusive scope of practice then you can practice nutrition care without being certified/licensed as a nutrition care provider. However, if specific title protections exists in the law, you may not use any protected title in advertising or practice.

Check your nutrition state law to see if it is: a licensure with exclusive scope of practice; a licensure without exclusive scope of practice; you fall within the listed exemptions of the law; or there is no law for your state.

Disclaimer: This information represents a preliminary interpretation of state statutes, and cannot be substituted for legal counsel.