Overview

This industry comprises businesses primarily engaged in the merchant wholesale distribution of biological and medical products; botanical drugs and herbs; and pharmaceutical products intended for internal and external consumption. It also includes businesses primarily engaged in the merchant wholesale distribution of professional medical equipment, instruments, and supplies (except ophthalmic equipment and instruments and goods used by ophthalmologists, optometrists, and opticians).

Business types included in this category:
  • Drugs and Druggists' Sundries Merchant Wholesalers

    This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in the merchant wholesale distribution of biological and medical products; botanical drugs and herbs; and pharmaceutical products intended for internal and external consumption in such forms as ampoules, tablets, capsules, vials, ointments, powders, solutions, and suspensions.

  • Medical, Dental, and Hospital Equipment and Supplies Merchant Wholesalers

    This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in the merchant wholesale distribution of professional medical equipment, instruments, and supplies (except ophthalmic equipment and instruments and goods used by ophthalmologists, optometrists, and opticians).

  • Ophthalmic Goods Merchant Wholesalers

    This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in the merchant wholesale distribution of professional equipment, instruments, and/or goods sold, prescribed, or used by ophthalmologists, optometrists, and opticians.

General Considerations

Before starting a business, you probably will need to register with the Florida Department of State, the IRS and the Florida Department of Revenue. For businesses located outside of the State of Florida, evidence of registration with their Division of Corporations or Corporate Registry may be required.

After completing these steps, you will need to get a license from one of these Florida agencies:

  • Department of Business and Professional Regulation – wholesale distributors of prescription drugs, medical gas, and diethyl ether
  • Department of Health – counterfeit-proof prescription vendors

Businesses in this category should check with the Department of Environmental Protection for applicable air, water and waste permits.

Business owners in this category may also wish to explore assistance offered by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

Get Started

The following represents your interactive licensing checklist for this business category. Select the expandable blue bars below for more information on the specific licenses, permits or registrations that may be required to open your business. We have also included a printable version of the following checklist available at the top of this page for your convenience.

Register your business with the Department of State

Department of State

The Florida Department of State’s Division of Corporations serves as the state’s central depository for a number of commercial activities. These activities include a variety of business entity filings, trade and service mark registrations, federal lien recordings, judgment lien filings, uniform commercial code financing statements, fictitious name registrations, notary commissions, and cable and video service franchises.

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Agency Introduction

The Department of State (DOS) is where you register your business. You can search and access filed information for corporations, limited liability companies, limited partnerships, general partnerships, trademarks, fictitious name registrations and liens. Also, electronic filing and certification can be processed via the Department’s website.


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Apply for your Employer Identification Number (EIN)

Internal Revenue Service

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is the nation’s tax collection agency and administers the Internal Revenue Code enacted by Congress.

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Agency Introduction

If you are required to report employment taxes or give tax statements to employees, you need an Employer Identification Number (EIN) to send with all items you report to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or Social Security Administration. If you do not intend to hire others, you may skip this step.


  • You may apply for an EIN online if your principal business is located in the United States or U.S. Territories. The person applying online must have a valid Taxpayer Identification Number (SSN, ITIN, EIN). You are limited to one EIN per responsible party per day.

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Register your business with the Department of Revenue

Department of Revenue

The Florida Department of Revenue administers three programs: general tax administration, property tax oversight and child support. The general tax administration program works with Florida businesses that are required to register for, collect, report and remit the taxes and fees administered by the Department.

The Department also manages the State of Florida’s New Hire Reporting Center. Federal and state laws require employers to report newly hired, re-hired and temporary employees within 20 days of an employee’s start date. This information is used to assist the Department’s child support program with child support orders. The employment information reported through the state’s New Hire Reporting Center is also used to detect and prevent public assistance and reemployment assistance fraud.

For additional information, please visit www.floridarevenue.com.

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Agency Introduction

A business owner or contractor may need to register for, collect, report and/or remit one or more of the taxes, fees and licenses administered by the Florida Department of Revenue. This is dependent on the structure of a business, the activities of a business, and whether the business hires employees. In addition, businesses must report newly hired, re-hired and temporary employees through the State of Florida’s New Hire Reporting program managed by the Florida Department of Revenue.


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The Department manages the State of Florida’s New Hire Reporting Center. Federal and state laws require employers to report newly hired, re-hired and temporary employees within 20 days of an employee’s start date. The Department’s Child Support program utilizes employment information and employer cooperation to assist with child support order compliance. The reported employment information through the state’s New Hire Reporting Center is also used to detect and prevent public assistance and reemployment fraud.

  • Register your business to report newly hired, re-hired or temporary employees within 20 days of an employee’s start date.

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  • The Department of Revenue’s Child Support Program works with employers in a variety of ways to ensure compliance with child support orders when applicable. Employers must work with the Child Support Program to respond to income withholding requests and to enroll children in medical insurance plans. Once registered with the New Hire Reporting Center, businesses will be able to access the Child Support Employer Services website to report employee termination and bonus or lump sum payments, request replacement copies of income withholding notices currently in place for employees, and use the Program’s online calculator to get pro-rated child support amounts for employees that have more than one child support case.

    More info

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Business Taxes, Fees and Surcharge

Businesses in this category may be required to register for, collect, report and/or remit one or more of the following taxes and fees.

  • Most corporations and certain entities conducting business, or who are incorporated in Florida, including out-of-state corporations, must file a Florida corporate income tax return.

    Register online or by submitting a Florida Business Tax Application (Form DR-1), or by filing the Florida Corporate Income/Franchise Tax Return (Form F-1120).

    More info

  • Reemployment Assistance gives partial, temporary income to workers who lose their jobs through no fault of their own and are able and available for work. If your business will employ workers in Florida, you may register online or submit a Florida Business Tax Application (Form DR-1).

    More info

  • Before conducting business, anyone selling, renting, leasing or repairing goods, providing certain services, charging admissions, or renting or leasing short-term lodging, housekeeping accommodations, or commercial real property must register with the Department of Revenue.

    Additionally, use tax is due on the use or consumption of taxable goods or services when sales tax was not paid at the time of purchase.

    Register online or by submitting a Florida Business Tax Application (Form DR-1).

    More info

  • This surtax, imposed by most Florida counties, applies to most transactions subject to sales or use tax. Businesses must also collect the applicable discretionary sales surtax from the purchaser at the time of sale, then report and remit it to the Department of Revenue.

    No additional registration is required.

    More info

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Apply for a license from the Department of Business and Professional Regulation

Department of Business and Professional Regulation

The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) is the agency charged with licensing and regulating businesses and professionals in Florida. A variety of businesses will need to coordinate with DBPR to obtain applicable licenses, registrations and/or permits.

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Agency Introduction

DBPR’s Division of Drugs, Devices and Cosmetics and Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco provide licensing and registration for the wholesale of prescription drugs under this category.


Division of Drugs, Devices, and Cosmetics

  • A prescription drug wholesale distributor is a wholesale distributor located in Florida that may engage in the wholesale distribution of prescription drugs in this state.

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  • A prescription drug wholesale distributor broker only is a prescription drugs wholesale distributor that may engage in the wholesale distribution of prescription drugs in this state without taking physical possession of prescription drugs.

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  • Veterinary Prescription Drug Wholesale Distributor Permit
  • Medical Gas Wholesale Distributor Permit
  • Retail Pharmacy Drug Wholesale Distributor Permit
  • Limited Prescription Drug Veterinary Wholesale Distributor Permit
  • A restricted prescription drug distributor – health care entity permit authorizes (i) the sale of a prescription drug by a health care entity or a group purchasing organization (GPO) to a health care entity member of that GPO for the member’s own use, or (ii) a health care entity to distribute prescription drugs to other health care entities under common control.

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  • This permit is required for a charitable organization described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to engage in the sale, purchase or trade of a prescription drug to a nonprofit affiliate of the organization. This permit is required for a charitable organization to authorize the possession or transfer of prescription drugs, including prescription drug samples.

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  • This permit is required for persons engaged in the handling, processing and removal of expired or otherwise adulterated or unsuitable prescription drugs on behalf of licensed pharmacies, practitioners, wholesalers, or other persons authorized to possess prescription drugs, for return to the manufacturer or source of the prescription drug or for destruction. This permit authorizes the reverse distribution of prescription drugs removed from the owner establishment to the manufacturer or source or to a person authorized to arrange for destruction of prescription drugs.

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  • This permit is required for a person to take possession in Florida of a prescription drug for the purpose of arranging for its destruction, but does not include the manufacturer of that drug or a permitted Restricted Prescription Rx Drug Distributor – Reverse Distributor. This includes persons transporting prescription drugs to a destruction facility or to a warehouse awaiting destruction, and persons warehousing prescription drugs prior to destruction.

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  • This permit is required for a licensed pharmacy of a university to transfer prescription drugs to practitioner or non-practitioner researchers for university sponsored research conducted in accordance with Florida and federal laws.

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  • This permit is required for person engaged in examining individuals for the purpose of blood donation or which collects, processes, stores, tests, or distributes blood or blood components collected from the human body for the purpose of transfusion, for any other medical purpose, or for the production of any biological product. A person, entity, or organization that uses a mobile unit to conduct such activities within the state is also a blood establishment.

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  • A veterinary prescription drug retail premit is required for any person that sells veterinary prescription drugs to the public but is not a pharmacy licensed under Chapter 465, Florida Statutes.

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  • This permit is any person that engages in the distribution of a “complimentary drug” (also a “sample”): a human prescription drug that is labeled “sample,” “not to be sold,” “complimentary,” or other words to that effect, that is provided as a courtesy, that is not intended to be sold, and that is intended to promote the sale of the drug.

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  • All prescription drug wholesale distributor and out-of-state prescription drug wholesale distributor permittees and applicants must designate in writing at least one natural person to serve as the designated representative for a given establishment. Such person must have an active certification from the department (a “certified designated representative” or “CDR”).

    More info

  • A freight forwarder is a person who receives prescription drugs which are owned by another person and designated by that person for export, and exports those prescription drugs.

    More info

  • Permit for distributors of diethyl ether.

    More info

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Apply for a license from the Department of Health

Department of Health

The Florida Department of Health, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, works to protect, promote & improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county, & community efforts.  The department’s goal is to be the healthiest state in the nation through innovation, collaboration, accountability, responsiveness and excellence.

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Explore assistance from the Department of Economic Opportunity (optional)

Department of Economic Opportunity

In collaboration with our partners, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) assists the Governor in advancing Florida’s economy by championing the state’s economic development vision and by administering state and federal programs and initiatives to help visitors, citizens, businesses, and communities.

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Agency Introduction

The Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) utilizes public and private sector expertise to attract, retain and grow businesses and create jobs in Florida. It also provides valuable resources for businesses and entrepreneurs; assistance with recruiting workers; and statistical information regarding Florida businesses and employment. Your business may qualify for various state or federal assistance.


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Federal & Local Government Requirements

This checklist provides state requirements only. Remember to check federal requirements and your local county and municipal agencies. The following organizations and websites can help:

  • Florida’s Small Business Development Center Network (FLSBDC) – State designated as Florida’s principal provider of small business assistance, the network provides no-cost, professional business consulting, in-person and on-demand training, and access to business research resources to help Florida businesses—no matter their stage of business—grow and succeed.
  • Florida Chamber of Commerce – The chamber is a Florida business organization whose goal is to further the interest of businesses in Florida.
  • County Websites – Florida’s county governments require various licenses, permits and filings above and beyond state requirements, depending on the type of business you wish to open. Find out about other public services and opportunities related to Florida counties and their governments by visiting the Florida Association of Counties website.
  • City Websites – Business owners should be aware of local government requirements, especially local business taxes (occupational licenses), building permits and inspections, planning and zoning, and community and economic development opportunities. The Florida League of Cities offers a comprehensive, alphabetical listing of municipality websites and additional information about local events and government requirements.

Disclaimer: The State of Florida operates OpenMyFloridaBusiness.gov as a public service to Florida residents and visitors worldwide. While efforts were made to verify that the content of this website is accurate and comprehensive, it is recommended that you consult with a professional (e.g., attorney, CPA, SBDC, etc.) to ensure you meet all requirements before starting your business. OpenMyFloridaBusiness.gov is not responsible for the content of external websites.