WA State Licensing: Shopkeeper


A Shopkeeper License is required for businesses (except licensed pharmacies) that sell any nonprescription drugs. These drugs must be in the original manufacturer’s packaging.

Sellers of cold, allergy, cough medicines

State law as well as federal law requires retailers who sell over-the-counter cold and allergy medicine containing ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, or phenylpropanolamine to restrict consumer access to these products by storing them behind the counter and report their sales to the National Precursor Log Exchange (NPLEx) also known as Methcheck. No shopkeeper or its employee may sell, transfer or furnish in any single transaction products containing a total of more than 3.6 grams of ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, or phenylpropanolamine, their salts, isomers, or salt of isomers, in any 24-hour period or more than 9 grams in 30 calendar days.

After you have registered your business by completing the Business License Application, please set up an account to report your sales of cold and allergy medicine by completing the NPLEx registration.

In addition, federal law requires sellers to self-certify with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). For more information refer to Section IX of the DEA Chemical Handler’s Manual or contact the DEA at (888) 219-1418.

State law requires retailers who sell at retail a finished drug product containing any quantity of dextromethorphan to require and obtain proof of age from the purchaser before completing the sale, unless by the purchaser's outward appearance they could reasonably be believed to be twenty-five years of age or older. For details on restrictions, penalties and exceptions refer to chapter 69.75 RCW.

Please note, a registered shopkeeper may sell from vending machines over-the-counter medications that have no sales restrictions. However, medications that are subject to any restriction on their sale e.g. age, quantity, or sales transaction tracking requirement, are not to be sold from a vending machine. 

If you have questions, contact the Pharmacy Quality Assurance Commission's business office at (360) 236-4834.

Post your license

A license must be posted at each location where the licensee operates. You may not begin this business activity until you receive a Business License listing the required license.

How to apply

Apply by using one of the following options:


File online with My DOR. My DOR works best with Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome.

    1. Login using your Secure Access Washington (SAW) user ID. If you don't have a user ID or aren't sure, see if you have an account first before signing up.
    2. Click Get Started on the Business Licensing and Tax service.
    3. Follow the steps below based on your business status.

    If you do not have an existing business

      1. Click File New Business License Application. Be sure to select the endorsements for which you wish to apply.

    If you have an existing business

      1. If you haven't already, add access to your business. You'll need a UBI number and a letter ID.
      2. Click on the business you want to apply for a license/endorsement under, then click on the location.
      3. Click File New Business License Application.

    You can pay using an E-check or a major credit card (gift cards can't be used).

    Find more help for using My DOR, including video tutorials.

By mail

  1. Complete a Business License Application.
  2. Mail your completed application with a check or money order payable to “Department of Revenue” for the fees to:
    State of Washington
    Business Licensing Service
    PO Box 9034
    Olympia, WA 98507-9034


Specialty license Fee
Shopkeeper License $55 per location
Other fees that may apply Fee
Registering your business name as a trade name $5
Business License Application fee $19 (non-refundable)

Regulatory questions:

Department of Health
Phone: (360) 236-4700