Starting a pharmacy in Nigeria can be an extremely beneficial business venture. This is because in Nigeria, people fall ill on a daily basis which has seen the increase for the demand for life saving medications.
To take advantage of this business idea, you have to legally own a pharmacy in Nigeria. It is quite unfortunate that in a country like Nigeria where most people can only afford government owned hospitals; these hospital pharmacies are mostly under stocked. Hence, the operators of community pharmacies in Nigeria deemed it fit to make these drugs available to the public.
This post will focus on how to start a pharmacy or patient medicines store (chemist) in Nigeria and proffer steps for opening up a full legitimate retail pharmaceutical business as stipulated by the Pharmaceutical Council of Nigeria (PCN). To avoid ambiguity, we shall in this article interchangeably use drug store or pharmacy as they have same meaning.
BELOW ARE THE STEP ON HOW TO START A PHARMACY STORE IN NIGERIA 2020
- Register Your Business with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and PCN
Just like any other business, you would need to register your pharmacy to be legit, you will need to register it with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) as a business entity and also with the Pharmaceutical Council of Nigeria (PCN).
The PCN stipulates the minimum requirements that must be met before any individual can be permitted to run a pharmacy.
- Find a Good Location
In selecting a location for your pharmacy, there are two things that you will need to note. First, you have to get your location approved by the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PCN) and secondly, you would need to consider how profitable the location is to your pharmacy business.
You need to also consider how easily accessible is your pharmacy shop to your customers. The best place to locate a pharmacy is near a government owned hospital, since they hardly have the required drugs prescribed for patients.
- Source for the required capital
To open a pharmaceutical isn’t child’s play. Questions like “How much does it take to open a pharmacy store comes to mind when you want to start off.
You have to carry out a feasibility study on this cause, carry out your research so that you will find out the capital that will be needed to start off your own drug store. This will solely depend on the kind of scale you intend to start with.
- Find a Credible Supplier
This is an important factor that will determine how the business will fare. You would need a steady supply of registered drugs which will be placed on the shelf for display to customers that are willing to patronize you. Find a credible supplier and build a good relationship with such supplier. If it is a wholesaler, the better. Be careful to only display drugs that have been dully registered by NAFDAC and NDLEA so as not to be found wanting with the law.
- Employ competent staff
If you are going to run a mega pharmacy store, its best you hire qualified staff that will assist you. As earlier said if you are not a trained pharmacist, employ one that have the idea of the functions of the drugs and how to prescribe such drugs to your customers.
- Publicize your pharmacy business
Once you have successfully opened your drug store, you would have to advertise your business to people to see. Posters, online advertising, newspaper advert are just a few of where you can publicize your pharmaceutical store business. Always try to keep your customers satisfied so that they would always patronize you.
HOW MUCH WILL IT COST ME TO START UP A PHARMACY BUSINESS IN NIGERIA 2020
I want to share what it will cost you to open a new pharmacy in Nigeria. As an experience investor and Healthpreneur who have lost over #4 million in business certainly, i can guide you on how not to invest in a fruitless business venture. One of the things I have noticed is that a lot of pharmacists or investors want to start their own pharmacies but do not know what it will cost them to open new pharmacy in Nigeria.
To set up a standard modern pharmacy in Nigeria, here is a breakdown of what you need to budget for;
RENT – This is usually depend on the location or state or environment you want. However, for a good location you need a busy and heavily populated neighborhood, you need to budget at least N600.000 for a year. Like i said this varies widely not only from state to state but from locality to locality. For instance, you can get a shop of #500,000 in Ikorodu area of Lagos State,and that same shop size will cost #800,000 at Ikeja Environs. Lekki and Victoria Island will be more Expensive in rentage as you already know. If you are not in Nigeria,is good you liase with various Agents to help you get the kind of shop you want and your choice of Settlement in a state.
FURNITURE – Your pharmacy MUST look very attractive to your clients, you need to budget at least #300. 000 to #500,000 naira for furniture. When it comes to furniture be aware too that there are two types of plywoods that furniture makers use. What you must insist they use for you is HBF board and not MBF. The two look exactly alike but one is ordinary cardboard while the other one is wood. The #300.000 to #500, 000 can get you decent shelves that combine wood and glass counters. Note of warning though,. a lot of them make rubbish even after promising to make Italian standard shelves for you. Some disappear with the initial deposit. LOL.
DRUGS – To properly stock a new pharmacy, you need to budget at least #1million naira for drugs alone and another #500 thousand for cosmetics. It is not as if you have less amount you cant but, your shop will look scanty. The good news though is that a lot of wholesalers are ready to give you stock on credit if you come with someone they know and buy a significant amount. I know a wholesaler who will match you naira for naira on the products you pay cash for with the value equialent in credit facility. Be careful though because a lot of pharmacists abuse this privilege.
FITTINGS – Have you ever steppedinto some pharmacies and it looks like you don’t want to go home? That feeling is called fitting. To open new pharmacy in Nigeria, you need to budget at least #300,000 for fittings, AC, painting, designs if possible, chairs and fans.
COMPUTER – A decent computer system will cost you about #80,000 if you go for a fairly used system. But if you prefer a brand new one, you need to budget at least #150,000 to cover computer, receipt printer and software
CCTV – In this Era this very essential in a new pharmacy anywhere in the world. A four camera CCTV will cost you about #130,000
TRAINING – You need to train your staff on how to grow sales just like you can see in the video below which we did for a retail pharmacy in Lagos. A good start off training will cost you between #50 to 200 thousand depending on the tutor. But if I am to teach you and your staffs how to grow sales and market your pharmacy to optimum profit level, the fee is #120,000 though this is discussable.
OTHER EXPENSES – You will need to set aside like #200,000 for other stuffs that may come up or that you may think will add value to your pharmacy
REGISTRATIONS WITH PHARMACEUTICAL SOCIETIES OF NIGERIA (PCN) AND CORPORATE AFFAIRS COMMISSION (CAC)
You have to first register your business name with Corporate Affairs Commission and I hope you have a business name in mind already?
Below is the step to follow in registering your business with CAC.
- Pick at least two business names you like
- Submit them at the nearest c.a.c office for name search which cost #1000.00 ( corporate affairs commission is in every state of nigeria)
- Take the approved name back to c.a.c to incorporate a company with the corporate affairs commissions ( you will need a lawyer or a chartered accountant to help you at this stage) i can assist you with any of the personnel if you want.
- A.C will demand for a copy of the license of a pharmacist shareholder to incorporate a pharmacy named company so you will need to get a pharmacist whom will serve as a shareholder you can call me on 08106290273 for a detailed briefing ok….
- Cost implication approximately #80k
Get a location
- Your choice of location you are using;
- Must be at least 30square meter for retail, 50 square meter for wholesale and an office attached to the shop.
- Site must be 200 metres from any nearby registered pharmacy.
- Write to P.C.N on your letter headed paper for location approval after paying location approval fee of #10k for retail and #20k for wholesale
- Site must not be in a market or a motor park
- A plaza can have two to three premises
After location approval
For a pharmacist owned business submit
- Application letter for premises registration
- C.A.C certificate of incorporation
- CAC forms co2 and co7
- Superintendent pharmacist license
- Resignation letter and acceptance of resignation letter from place of last appointment as a supt pharmacist (or nysc discharge certificate for a post nysc pharmacist)
- Letter stating that you have only one full time pharmacist job
- Pay inspection and registration fee into P.C.N account
- Fill and submit forms from pcn
- Wait and wait
For a non pharmacist owned outlet, above plus
- Appointment and acceptance of appointment letters
- A letter promising to give the superintendent pharmacist a free hand
- A legal agreement between the superintendent pharmacist and the managing director
- Letter informing pcn of appointment of a supt. Pharmacist
Warning – Do not go with your supt. Pharmacist to pcn office or else……..
The inspectors expect to find
- Medical reference books
- A pharmacist office
- An airconditioner
- Poison book and box
If your location is approve throw a party and start business
If a premise was not approved, write an appeal letter stating your case to the registrar, then hope and pray
Please note that once in a while inspectors can come up with rules that are not part of the requirement to deny you approval so, make sure you also buy the books premises registration rules and regulation and pharmacy laws at pcn zonal offices to be sure the inspectors stick to the approved rules and not the once they make up. Most importantly, do not allow them to intimidate you
If you still think you are been denied your right, get your lawyer to write pcn and i assure you that things will start falling into place faster for you
Should you need my mentorship and guidiance, please do not hesitate to reached out to me. I might be busy on calls most times, please don’t relent drop a whatsapp message I reply mostly via chat. 09071046490.
SECTION B (HOW TO SET UP A PATENT MEDICINE STORE/CHEMIST)
A patent medicine store popularly known as a chemist is a store that stock and sell over the counter (O.T.C) drugs. However, patent medicine stores are not supposed to be called chemist.
Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (P.C.N) at such capacity approves them to operate within the shores of the country.
Patent stores are managed, not by the pharmacist but by individuals who feel the need to serve the nation in such capacity. They are found in major villages where pharmacist stores are scarce. They also serve to augment the services of the pharmacist in towns and cities.
This business is very lucrative and so the requirements are a little bit strict. The requirements to own one is similar within the country. However, the ability to keep up in the business may require a little knowledge on the drugs.
Registration Of Patent Medicine Store
In Lagos State, it is practically a straightforward thing. The major requirement is to get yourself registered with the National Association of Proprietary and Patent Medicine Dealers (N.A.P.P.M.D) but that doesn’t guarantee you the PCN Operating License. They have been approved by PCN to managed and control patent medicines stores and keep to the rules and instructions from PCN.
The registration requires a one-year one-time payment that varies from location to location. The payment can be between the sum of 50,000 naira with foods and drinks presented to the organisation. The foods and drinks are a welcome address and an introduction to get to know other patent vendors within that locality.
A yearly fee is collected. Most places within Lagos charges 20,000-30,000 naira for that.
The money paid is used for several things like paying for vigilante dues and for registration into PCN. In other cases, the new person registers with PCN and gets the certificate but the organisation makes the process easy and simple. In addition, money realised at the end of the month is spent on members like buying the end of year food that is distributed among members.
Most people tend to omit registration with the organization once they secure their certificate from PCN. This I consider a wrong move since the organization have shown over time to be able to frustrate those who failed to comply.
Next is to register the business name with Cooperate Affairs Commission (C.A.C). This is done by paying a visit to any of their state branch.
To do this, pick two business names you like which have not been used. Submit it to CAC. Wait for approval and if not approved, change the name. It happens most time when the name is taken or closely related to another. Finally, take the approved name to CAC. They will demand a copy of the certificate from PCN to incorporate a patent store named company. CAC will require bits of information including proof of payments of their charges.
After the registration process, the laws that may have been told even before registration entails:
- Getting a store that is hygienic in nature. That means the store should not be closed to where dirt is deposited or an abattoir or other unhygienic locations.
- The environmental condition must be conducive for both the buyer and seller.
- A condition is very crucial for your location to be approved. According to my guide, a patent store must not be sited close to another. There is a minimum distance allowed. It must be at least two to three pole apart (200 meters) in busy areas and or three poles (400 meters) for less busy areas.
Starting The Patent Medicine Store
After meeting the registration requirement, the next step is to evaluate how to start. What I mean is the amount you intend to invest. The bulk of the money is usually on the registration and renting of a suitable store. The cost of getting the drugs is not that much. Consider if a helping hand like a pharmacy technician will be needed to assist in the store and how much to pay such ones.
The credible supplier is necessary pre-requisite that should not be kicked aside. Because of the prevalence of fake and sub-standard drugs, it is very good to get in touch with a credible supplier, which could be from a referral. This should not be difficult if you have registered with NAPPMD since most members will be willing to link new members to their associates.
Tips To Succeed As A Patent Medicine Vendor
To be successful, a good market survey is needed. These include:
- Location: A good location will put into account the places that lack access to primary health care (P.H.C). This will increase the patronage by a factor of four. This also reduces competition.
- Experience: I see no reason why a carpenter of someone with no idea will just jump into drug market. Even though such drugs do not require a prescription, basic knowledge is needed. This is because some patients ask for directions how to take drugs and should be directed accordingly. Failure to do this will make the patient feel the seller is incompetent and have some reservations. Either they may not come back or switch customers.
- Adequate Advert: There are laws guiding patent store adverts. Learn them and use it to your advantage. One very cheap and easy way to advertise is to open a website telling people about your work.
- Attend Orientation: PCN organises orientation for patients medicines dealers every two years. These should be attended as it enlightened attendants on new innovative ways and products of treating modern diseases.
Push by some groups of pharmacy to abolish the law that accepts patent medicine store have been on. This has been pushed aside because they are of great help today. The reason is that most pharmacists do not like going to villages to sell. Such villages should not be left to suffer when patent stores can reduce hospital visitations.
Presently, my village only have one pharmacist. If those patent stores were not there, how would they get drugs to buy?
Though some pharmacist are now saying patents should only be restricted to the villages because they are making them poor, I still see no reasons for that. The pharmacist that knows what they are doing cannot be intimidated with a mere patent store. The services they render should surpass that of the patent store and speaks for itself.
If you are interested in Mentorship Program about running this Business, don’t hesitate to reached me on whatsapp 09071046490.
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