How to Start a Pharmacy in Nigeria

Start a PharmacySee the step-by-tep guide on how to start a pharmacy in Nigeria. Running a pharmacy in Nigeria can be a very profitable business venture. The fact is that in Nigeria, the demand for drugs is currently on a steady increase. A good way to tap into this is to own a pharmacy.

This article is aimed at showing you how to start a pharmacy in Nigeria. In this article, I would like to focus on the steps for starting up a fully legitimate pharmacy according to the requirements stipulated by the Pharmaceutical Council of Nigeria (PCN).

The professional pharmacists categorize pharmacies into two. First is the hospital pharmacy which is usually found in hospitals. These types of pharmacies are mainly set up to cater for the immediate needs of patients in the hospital. They are usually stocked up with very rare and highly controlled drugs.

Secondly are the community pharmacies. These are the ones that you will find outside of the hospital premises. They usually provide drugs for the general public.

For the sake of the professionals, the pharmaceutical store we will be referring to in this article are the community pharmacies.

It is quite unfortunate that in Nigeria where the majority of the people can only afford and patronise government owned hospitals, the hospital pharmacies are largely under stocked. Fortunately, the operators of community pharmacies have been able to make important and lifesaving drugs to be available for the use of the general public.

In Nigeria, the sale of drugs through pharmacies is highly regulated and monitored by the Pharmaceutical Council of Nigeria (PCN). There are two accepted ways to start a pharmacy in Nigeria;

  • Starting Under a Franchise

One way to start a pharmacy in Nigeria is to set it up under an already registered and fully accredited franchise. This will involve you going into a partnership with someone who has already been established in the business.

The major advantage of starting through this route is that you do not get to go through the rigours the registration processes laid out by the regulating body. Another plus is that people will tend to patronise your shop because it is registered under an already trusted name. All that is required is to put in your capital into the already thriving business and keep to the laid down agreement as stipulated by the franchise owner.

It is worthy to note here that the various franchise owners have their different requirements that must be met before you can be allowed to open your pharmacy under their name. It is advised that you do a proper research before deciding on the franchise you intend to start under.

  • Starting on Your Own

If you do not fancy starting your pharmacy under a franchise, you can start one on your own. This however means that you will have to go through all the compulsory registration processes as stipulated by the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PCN).

The only group of people that that have the legal right to set up a pharmacy in Nigeria are trained pharmacists. This is because as far as setting up a pharmacy goes, the PCN only deals with certified pharmacists.

However if you are interested in this business and you have the capital, a work around is to employ a qualified pharmacist who will be responsible for the registration and the day to day running of the business, or go into a partnership with one.

After deciding on the most convenient way for you to set up your pharmacy, the next step is for you to put the necessary structures on ground. Below are the steps you will need to take to set up your pharmacy.

  1. Register Your Business

For your pharmacy to be regarded as legitimate, you will need to register it appropriately with the regulating bodies. First of all, you will need to register it with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) as a business entity.

Secondly, you will also have to register with the Pharmaceutical Council of Nigeria (PCN). The PCN has the sole responsibility of monitoring and regulating the activities of all pharmacies in Nigeria. They stipulate the minimum requirements that must be met before any individual can be permitted to run a pharmacy.

  1. Select a Good Location

In selecting a location for your pharmacy, there are two things that you will need to put into consideration.

First, you have to ensure that the location has been approved by the PCN. Due to the sensitive nature of drugs, the PCN will have to inspect your proposed premises and then give the go ahead before you can proceed to carry out business there.

Secondly, you have to consider the profitability of your proposed location. It is important that you locate your pharmacy in a busy area that is also accessible to your potential customers. One good place to locate a pharmacy is close to large government owned hospitals. This is because sadly, the government hospitals hardly have the required drugs in their pharmacies.

  1. Secure Your Supply

One of the most important things that will determine the success or failure of your pharmacy is the steady and constant supply of drugs. It will help a great deal if you have a good relationship with reliable and genuine wholesalers of drugs. This will ensure that you always have a steady supply. You also have to ensure that your suppliers are indeed genuine. This is because they are currently very strict penalties for dealing in fake drugs or substandard drugs. Your best bet is actually to get your supply directly from the pharmaceutical companies.

  1. Raise the Required Capital

The capital that will be needed will largely depend on the scale that you intend to start off with. Do well to ensure that you have enough money for your rent and fittings, registrations, stock and other bills.

See Sources of Capital in Nigeria

  1. Hire Qualified Staff

You probably will not be able to run the business on your own. If you are not a trained pharmacist, then you will need to hire one who will assist you. You might also hire other staff such as clerks, store keepers, and as you deem necessary.

  1. Advertise

Endeavour to use all means possible to let the world know about your business. An important way of advertising is to ensure that your staff render good service, and there are courteous. Satisfied customers will not only come back, they will also tell others about your business.

See Where to Advertise in Nigeria

These are the few steps that will assist you to start a pharmacy in Nigeria. If you have any ideas or questions, please use our comments section below.


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Ikponmwosa Aikhionbare is a Content Developer at InfoGuide Nigeria is a team of Resource Persons and Consultants led by Ifiokobong Roberts. Page maintained by Ifiokobong Roberts. If you need a personal assistance on this topic, kindly contact us.

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