Compliance, Credentials & Licenses

Charity Held to the Highest Standards

Direct Relief, while humanitarian in nature, adheres to the same standards as any commercial wholesale distributor of pharmaceuticals.

A Charitable Purpose Deserves Operational Excellence

Operational Capabilities

More than ever, Direct Relief is being called upon to respond on a daily and emergency basis with medical resources that people need, but cannot afford.

To help meet this global demand for charitable medicine, Direct Relief operates a 155,000-square-foot warehouse and distribution center, with 10,000 pallet spaces and 12 truck bays.

Direct Relief’s warehousing and logistic capabilities translate into roughly 3.9 million pounds of medical aid to 100 countries via 16,000 deliveries annually.

While the scale of these operations is unique among nonprofits, for Direct Relief, it’s not about the volume of medicine, but the people helped as a result. And just because the people who benefit from Direct Relief aren’t paying customers, the service they receive should be of no lesser standard.

Cold Chain

Direct Relief stores and delivers vaccines and other critical medicines throughout the U.S. and globally.

Resilient Power

Direct Relief’s microgrid ensures medicine stays within temperature range during power outages.

Recognizing the unique and critical role Direct Relief plays in the humanitarian space, the facility not only meets the stringent licensing requirements needed to store pharmaceuticals; it exceeds them. It’s designed to withstand major earthquakes and includes a Tesla microgrid that ensures continuous operations, even if the power grid is down for months.

Redundant power is critical for ensuring the continuous operation of Direct Relief 2,800-square-foot cold room, which keeps temperature-sensitive products between 36- and 41-degrees Fahrenheit. As a result, Direct Relief is able to handle cold chain medications like insulin, vaccines, and therapies for cancer and rare diseases — which are largely unavailable in many parts of the world.

A Commitment to Compliance

Direct Relief sources products exclusively from licensed manufacturers and wholesale distributors, safeguarding against counterfeits and contraband, and ensuring the authenticity of medicines safely delivered through a secure supply chain.

By requiring recipients of medical donations to maintain proper licensing, Direct Relief supports the safe and responsible dispensation of medicines to patients whose access would otherwise be limited or nonexistent.

As one of the only charitable organizations with NABP® Drug Distributor Accreditation by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy® (NABP), Direct Relief is indistinguishable from commercial distributors of healthcare products.

NABP Drug Distributor Accreditation ensures that Direct Relief is operating at the nation’s highest standards for wholesale drug distribution—the same standards with which its donor companies must comply—and underscores Direct Relief’s commitment to maintaining the highest standard of care in providing humanitarian medical aid to vulnerable populations in the United States and the world at large.

Direct Relief first earned this accreditation in January 2009.

In order to maintain NABP Drug Distributor Accreditation and ensure regulatory conformance, Direct Relief has implemented an extensive framework of standard operating procedures to govern routine processes and documentation.

In addition to NABP, Direct Relief operates under the jurisdiction of the California State Board of Pharmacy, the California Department of Health, the FDA, and the DEA. As such, Direct Relief welcomes regular audits to ensure compliance with state and federal regulatory standards, in addition to the rigorous standards set by healthcare manufacturers, who trust Direct Relief to safely deliver highly regulated pharmaceuticals worldwide to over 1700 healthcare providers.

Direct Relief’s culture of compliance drives the level of operational excellence needed to carry out our mission.

It’s the foundation of Direct Relief’s work to improve the health and lives of people in need.


  • Direct Relief is approved by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501(C)3 tax-exempt organization.
  • 501(c)3 Determination Letter from the IRS.
  • Direct Relief’s Federal Identification Number (FIN) is 95-1831116.
  • Direct Relief is registered as a nonprofit public benefit corporation by the State of California (since 1948).
  • Direct Relief holds NABP® Drug Distributor Accreditation from the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy.
  • Direct Relief holds all the licenses required to distribute prescription drugs in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. It has been licensed under California State Law as a wholesale pharmacy since 1962.
  • Direct Relief is registered with each U.S. State that requires formal registration.
  • Direct Relief is fully compliant with the standards for Council for Better Business Bureaus (CBBB) Standards for Charitable Solicitations.
  • Direct Relief is registered in Puerto Rico as a “non-profit foreign corporation, organized under the laws of California and duly authorized to do business in Puerto Rico since March 29, 2019.” To view Direct Relief’s registration page on the Puerto Rico Registry of Corporations and Entities, click here and enter “Direct Relief” in the field for “Corporate Name.”
  • Direct Relief is a registered Asociación Civil in Mexico and was granted tax-deductible status (Donataria Autorizada) from the Mexican government in 2014. This status allows companies and individuals in Mexico to receive tax benefits for donations to Direct Relief in Mexico.
  • Direct Relief is approved by the U.S. Government and the Government of India under the provisions of the 1968 U.S-India bilateral agreement concerning humanitarian assistance.


  • NetHope — A unique collaboration of the world’s leading international humanitarian organizations working together to solve common problems in the developing world with Information and Communication Technology (ICT) solutions.
  • The Partnership for Quality Medical Donations — An alliance of nongovernmental organizations and leading U.S. pharmaceutical manufacturers dedicated to the efficient and effective use of donated pharmaceutical products internationally.
  • The Healthcare Distribution Management Association — A national trade association that enhances healthcare distribution services to customers.
  • Santa Barbara County Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (SBC VOAD) — An association of non-profit and for-profit organizations that may be active during a disaster in Santa Barbara County.
  • Southern California Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (SoCal VOAD) — An association of 10 county VOADs and disaster response organizations, whose member agencies serve the 24 million residents of the ten southern-most counties in the state.