Program Requirements/Guidelines to Sell or Furnish Hypodermic Needles and Syringes without a Prescription

Eligible Providers

The following providers may register for participation in ESAP:

  • Pharmacies licensed under Article 137 of the Education Law;
  • Health Care Facilities licensed under Article 28 of the Public Health Law; and
  • Health Care Practitioners who are otherwise authorized to prescribe the use of hypodermic needles or syringes within his or her scope of practice.


Sale or furnishing began on January 1, 2001, subject to the issuance of a certificate to the eligible provider by the NYS Commissioner of Health. Such sale or furnishing is further subject to the following rules:

  • Hypodermic needles/syringes may only be sold in quantities of 10 or fewer to persons 18 years of age or older.
  • Pharmacies may not advertise that hypodermic needles/syringes are available for sale without a prescription.
  • Pharmacies must store hypodermic needles/syringes in a manner that makes them available only to authorized personnel and not openly available to customers.
  • A safety insert must be provided as part of each transaction and must be attached to or included with the hypodermic needles/syringes or provided in brochure form. The NYSDOH provides these brochures.
  • There are no restrictions on the types of hypodermic needles/syringes that may be provided under this program.
  • Each provider may establish fees or prices according to the pricing standards currently used by the provider.
  • Third-party reimbursement is not available when hypodermic needles/syringes are purchased at a pharmacy without a prescription.

Safety Insert

  • Registered providers must distribute a safety insert with each transaction.
  • The NYSDOH will provide an initial supply of a brochure that meets the requirements of the law; additional copies may be ordered through the NYS DOH or may be downloaded or by e-mailing your request to:


  • Registrants are required to cooperate in activities that promote safe disposal of used hypodermic needles or syringes. The specific activities that will be utilized by the applicant to demonstrate compliance with this obligation must be identified in the registration.
  • Pharmacies and practitioners are not required to accept used hypodermic needles/syringes for disposal, but may register to do so on a voluntary basis. Hospitals, regardless of participation in ESAP, are required to have programs for accepting household sharps.


  • No fee is required for registration in ESAP.
  • Registration will become effective upon the issuance of a certificate to the provider by the NYS Commissioner of Health. The registration period will continue through September 1, 2011 or until a notice of earlier termination by the NYSDOH.
  • An eligible provider may apply for registration at any time within this period.
  • The certificate must be prominently displayed within the registrant's place of business.
  • Registrants must notify the NYSDOH Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement of any changes in registration information by completing a revised registration form. Submission of a revised registration form should occur no later than 30 days after such change.
  • If a registered provider chooses to withdraw its registration, written notification of such intent must be provided to the NYSDOH. Withdrawal from the program will not be effective until the registrant receives written notice from the NYSDOH acknowledging the withdrawal.
  • Application to Register to Sell or Furnish Hypodermic Needles or Syringes Without a Prescription - (PDF, 13 KB, 2 pg.)

Record-Keeping Requirements

  • Record-keeping of the sale or furnishing of hypodermic needles/syringes without a prescription is not required.
  • However, the NYSDOH encourages voluntary reporting of transaction data for program evaluation purposes. Reporting will consist of the number of hypodermic needles and syringes sold with and without a prescription, to be submitted on a monthly basis. (Please check the appropriate box on the registration form if you are interested in providing these data.)


  • Registration information is used to develop a directory listing those providers who are authorized to sell, furnish, and/or dispose of hypodermic needles/syringes through ESAP.
  • The directory is available through the NYSDOH web site.
  • Providers that do not wish to be listed in the publicly available directory should check the appropriate box on the registration form.


The NYSDOH has no evidence or information to indicate that a registered party would have any more liability related to a syringe lawfully provided under ESAP than they would for a syringe or medication provided by prescription, or for that matter any other lawful product that they generally provide or sell.

DOH Contacts

Questions regarding the registration form and process may be directed to the Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement(518) 402-0707.

Questions about ESAP and for additional information about HIV/AIDS may be directed to the AIDS Institute at (212) 417-4770.