Procedure & Requirements To Start A Pharmacy Business In Nigeria

Do you know that Pharmacy business is not only for Pharmacists? In other words, a non Pharmacist can actually own a Retail Pharmacy business in Nigeria so far you can meet up with the PCN requirements which are simple.

Therefore, the questions should be;

What are the steps to start a Pharmacy business?

Is a non Pharmacist legible to own a pharmacy business?

Is Pharmacy business profitable?

What are the steps to register a pharmacy business with PCN?

Who is a Pharmacy director and Superintendent Pharmacist?

All these and many more questions are common questions both pharmacists and non pharmacists ask with regards to opening a retail pharmacy outlet or community pharmacy as popularly known.

In that case, this post is designed to answer all the aforementioned questions and act as a guide to investors who will want to go into pharmacy business in Nigeria. The procedures and requirements will help you at your each step of registration with the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN)

But first, let us discuss the profitability of a community pharmacy business.

Is owning a pharmacy profitable?

So many people ask the question, “Is owning a pharmacy profitable?”. However, the answer to this question is very simple and straightforward. According to Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs, The most basic need of man is the physiological needs, which is the biological requirements for human survival, e.g. air, food, drink, shelter, clothing, warmth, sex, sleep, Drug. Therefore, man seek first to satisfy these basic needs.

In that case, People are willing to pay anything to stay alive. They may grumble or get irritated but will still pay for the product. Consequently, Owning a pharmacy business is a market that can never cease to be profitable.

Secondly, the Patent Medicine Store popularly known as Chemist Store is phasing out in Nigeria. Nigerians, tend to understand now the difference between a pharmacy store and a chemist store. Therefore, there is more pressure on Pharmacists to meet up with the drug demand of the populace.

Meanwhile, the profitability of the retail pharmacy business can also be influenced by the location of the business, the business structuring and management system. But everything being equal, You will have something to take home at the end of the day.

Procedure for starting a pharmacy business in Nigeria.

This procedure for opening a pharmacy business is same for both Pharmacists and non Pharmacists aside from the first step i.e. business registration. Notwithstanding, here are the step by step guideline if you want to know the procedures and requirements involved in opening a community pharmacy business in Nigeria. 

1. Registering a business name with CAC

CAC stands for Corporate Affairs Commission and is a body in Nigeria that ensures the registration and regulation of business incorporation. This is a very important aspect of starting any business at all. Without CAC, your business is as good as not existing because it has no legal face, someone can easily claim the ownership and many other reasons. Read More on Why It is Important To Register A Business.

However, there are things you need to know when planning to register a pharmacy business in Nigeria;

First, your business name is not one that will be self glorifying like “Best Pharmacy” or “Only Pharmacy“. The reason is because the Pharmacists council will like you to project your business as a part of the Pharmacy profession and not as a separate entity that is almighty. Therefore, when choosing a business name make sure you do not violate this rule.

Secondly, If you are not a Pharmacist and wish to open a retail pharmacy business, Your CAC must have a Pharmacist as one of the directors or shareholder of the company. Though, the Federal Government of Nigeria is trying to scrape this rule but its not official yet.

Note that, Importation and wholesale Pharmacy does not need a pharmacy director as one of the shareholders when registering the business.

2. Application for location inspection

It is duty of the Pharmacist Director (a shareholder in the company) to go the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) and apply for the first location inspection. If the Premise is to be owned by a pharmacist, then the pharmacist will go ahead and apply for the location inspection.

The items required for this includes;

  • Application letter for a location inspection.(stating Title, Address, Category of practice, Phone number and signature)
  • Practicing license of the Pharmacist director
  • His/her NYSC discharge certificate
  • A copy of the Certificate of incorporation from CAC
  • CAC 7 (Particulars of directors)
  • CAC 2 (Allotment of shares)
  • An inspection fee payable to the council which varies with the type of pharmacy business.
  • other documents

Most importantly, before a location can be approved by the Pharmacist Council Of Nigeria, it must meet the following criteria;

  1. It must be 200 meters apart from an existing pharmacy.
  2. The measurement of the shop must be at least 30 square meters for retail pharmacy and 50 square meters for a wholesale pharmacy.
  3. Retail Pharmacy must not be located in a motor park nor inside the market.

Make sure you consider these points before renting a shop because if your location is disapproved, it means you will have to loose the rent of the shop and start looking for a new location.

3. Furnishing and equipping the pharmacy

After the location have been inspected and approved, the owner can go ahead to start the furniture and equipment.

This is a very critical step in starting a pharmacy business as it will send a psychological message to the integrity of Pharmacy you have. Meaning that, the perception and confidence people will have in your pharmacy depends on the way you package your store.

Shelves of modern Pharmacy are built with colorful woods or metal in a well lighted room. More so, the choice of furniture may depend on the capital and taste of the owner. But never make it look too cheap to make your customers question the integrity of your services.

In addition, security cameras, Computers and other equipment can help you manage your inventory, improve efficiency and speed and also minimize waste and stealing of your drugs.

Compulsory equipment for PCN premise approval

These items must be available before the invitation of the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria for premise inspection.

  1. A consultation room for the Pharmacist with a tag ” Pharmacist on Duty”
  2. Poison box for some drugs of control.
  3. Refrigerator for storage of thermolabile drugs
  4. A separate Store room and a place also to keep expired drugs
  5. Neat and Comfortable convenience room
  6. An air condition to maintain the right temperature for storage of drugs
  7. A convenient waiting space for the patients; It is a bonus if you can install a TV set for the patients to keep them busy while their drugs are packaged.

4. Application for Premise inspection

At this stage is where the Superintendent pharmacist comes into the picture. The Superintendent pharmacist will write a letter headed letter to the council for the second inspection of the premise.

But before that, he/she will have to clear all dues with the Pharmaceutical Society Of Nigeria (PSN) such as;

  • Dues for Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN)
  • State of practice dues.
  • Capitation/conference/journal fee
  • The PSN Young Pharmacists Group (PSN-YPG) fee
  • Ay other dues as stipulated by the society such as Building levy, Association Of Lady Pharmacists dues etc.

If the Superintendent Pharmacist is cleared by the PSN, he/she can continue the process of registration with the PCN.

Requirements for the application of Premise Inspection by PCN

  1. Application letter to register the premises on the company’s letter headed paper.
  2. Certification of incorporation.
  3. Memorandum and Article of Association (Certified true copy from CAC).
  4. Form CO7(Particulars of directors); (Certified true copy from CAC).
  5. Appointment letter.
  6. Acceptance letter for the appointment.
  7. Agreement between the superintendent pharmacist and the employer.
  8. Current annual license of the Pharmacist.
  9. Undertaking by the pharmacist (that he/she has no other job).
  10. Undertaking by the director (that he/she will give the pharmacist a free hand).
  11. Annual license of the Pharmacist director.
  12. Resignation and acceptance from employer or NYSC discharge certificate for newly qualified pharmacists.
  13. Pharmacists interstate movement form (If applicable).
  14. Registration and inspection Fees.

5. Sourcing of drugs

The sourcing of drugs for your Pharmacy can be done in two main ways;

  1. From open market e.g., Head bridge Market, Onitsha or Idumota, Lagos.
  2. Supplies from Companies through sales Representatives.

To own a profitable pharmacy, you have to utilize these two ways of sourcing drugs because you can never rely solely on the supplies from sales Reps because they will be unable to supply all the drugs needed by your patients. Secondly, Because of the heavy competition in the open drug market, you will get the products cheaper because most of these business men are direct importers or direct dealers from the company.

However, the big limitation of buying drugs from the open market is the fear of fake, substandard drugs, or drugs that deteriorated due to improper storage conditions.

If you must buy from an open market, make sure you have a trusted seller that will always give you the original product.

6. Staff employment

A pharmacy is not a one man affair. Firstly, there must be a superintendent Pharmacist who will oversee all the Drug-related activities of the company. Also, you may choose to employ other Pharmacists to help out when the superintendent Pharmacist is not around. In most Pharmacies, The managing Director employs a locum Pharmacist because its more flexible and cost effective.

Similarly, a pharmacy will need at least two nurses that will take care of Nursing activities such as dressing of wounds.

Other people that is important are Cashiers and Pharmacy Technicians.

7. Publicity and advert

The work in owning a profitable Pharmacy business does not just end after starting up the business. Publicity awareness and advert can go a long way to promote your pharmacy just like every other business.

One of the ways you can advertise your business is to dispense your drugs in a customized bags. In addition, fliers and souvenirs can be issued out to people to create awareness of your shop.

Finally, when starting a pharmacy business, do not focus on profit, rather, focus on building a stream of customers. You can do this by price reduction and also patient’s review to ascertain their level of satisfactions.

To learn more about Pharmacist licensing and Pharmacy business in Nigeria, visit the PCN official website.

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