Yes, you can open a pharmacy without being a pharmacist, but it is important to note that this might not apply to some countries.
The regulations as it relates to the ownership and operation of pharmacies vary by country and even within regions of countries.
Examples of countries where there may be some flexibility in pharmacy ownership rules include the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia.
This is why before opening a pharmacy when you are not a pharmacist, you must make sure you check the specific laws and regulations in your location.
Of course, in most countries of the world, ownership, and operation of a pharmacy are typically restricted to licensed pharmacists or corporations with a pharmacist as the major owner.
In case you are interested in owning a pharmacy and the country where you intend to open the pharmacy does not allow a non-pharmacist to (100 percent) own a pharmacy, you might want to explore the route of just being an investor in a pharmacy.
You may want to explore partnerships with licensed pharmacists or consider hiring a qualified pharmacist to oversee the business.
Of course, you can only do this if you are in a jurisdiction where non-pharmacists are allowed to invest in or partially own a pharmacy.
With this type of arrangement, there are often restrictions on the level of involvement in the day-to-day operations that the non-pharmacist can be allowed by law.
Whatever the rules are in your country, state, or city as it relates to owning a pharmacy as a non-pharmacist, you will be required to follow these steps if you want to open a pharmacy.
7 Steps to Follow If You Want To Open a Pharmacy
Here’s a general guide that outlines common steps you might need to take:
Educational and Licensing Requirements
You must make sure that you, or a designated pharmacist if you are not one, meet the educational and licensing requirements to operate a pharmacy.
Meeting the educational and licensing requirements involves obtaining at least a pharmacy degree and obtaining the necessary licenses and permits as required in your location.
For example, in the United States, you are expected to have Pharmacy License, Business License, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Registration,
National Provider Identifier (NPI) Number, State Controlled Substances Registration (if applicable in your state), State Health Department Permits,
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Compliance, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Enrollment, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Registration, and State Board of Pharmacy Approval before you can open a pharmacy.
Research and Business Plan
You are expected to conduct thorough research on the local market and competition in and around the place where you want to open the pharmacy.
If you are satisfied with the information you get from your research, then you can proceed to develop a comprehensive business plan that outlines your pharmacy’s mission, target market, services offered, pricing strategy, and financial projections.
Legal Structure and Registration
If you are sure you have what it takes to set up a pharmacy in your state, and the business plan you developed points to the fact that the business is viable and will thrive, then the next step to take is to choose a legal structure for your pharmacy.
For a pharmacy business, you can choose from a sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation. After settling for a legal structure for the pharmacy, you can then proceed to register your business with the appropriate authorities, ensuring compliance with local regulations.
Location and Facility
Selecting a suitable location for your pharmacy is key to the success of the pharmacy business. For that reason, you must consider factors such as foot traffic, proximity to healthcare facilities, and local demographics when selecting a location for your pharmacy.
Apart from choosing a suitable location and facility for your pharmacy, it is important to ensure that the facility you settle for complies with health and safety regulations, and do not forget to obtain any necessary permits or approvals before opening the pharmacy to the general public.
You do not need a whole lot of staff members to run a pharmacy hence it is a process that will not take much of your time.
The bottom line is that before opening a pharmacy, you must make plans to hire qualified and licensed staff, including pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and support personnel.
The size of your pharmacy is what will determine the number of employees you will hire. However, you must make sure that all the employees you hire meet the necessary educational and licensing requirements to work in a pharmacy.
Inventory and Suppliers
Your ability to get it right with this aspect of the business is what will determine how successful the pharmacy will be. In essence, for you to optimize inventory and supplies for your new pharmacy, you must deliberately establish efficient relationships with reputable pharmaceutical suppliers and wholesalers.
Apart from that, you must implement an organized inventory management system, considering factors like expiration dates and reorder points.
Leverage technology for accurate tracking. Prioritize compliance with healthcare regulations and ensure that the inventory adequately meets the demands of the local market.
Do not forget to regularly review and update suppliers to maintain cost-effectiveness and quality assurance in your pharmacy operations.
Officially Open the Business
To announce your presence in the community where your pharmacy is located, it is advisable to officially open the business.
By officially opening the business we mean that you should organize a launch party or an event that will attract members of the community where your pharmacy is located.
The reason why you should do this is simple; organizing a launch party before opening a new pharmacy in a community fosters community engagement, generates awareness, and establishes a positive first impression.
It builds relationships, introduces services, and creates a sense of anticipation, contributing to a successful and well-received pharmacy launch.