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How to Start a Pharmacy

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by Startacus Admin

  • Think about recruitment - Having the right staff for your pharmacy is perhaps more important than it would be for the vast majority of other businesses. You need to have a fully qualified and licensed Responsible Pharmacist who is in overall charge of the dispensary (a rule which is known as the ‘one pharmacy/one pharmacist’ rule). If you are a pharmacist then it is likely that you will fulfill this role; if not, you will need to undertake the recruitment process. You will also need a pharmacy technician who is fully qualified and registered with the General Pharmaceutical Council. As well as this you will probably also have a dispensing assistant, sometimes known as a pharmacy assistant, who is required to hold (or be in training towards) a number of official qualifications including a level 2 NVQ Certificate in Pharmacy Service Skills. For full details on the required qualifications of your staff take a look at the NHS Careers website.
  • Regulations and Licensing - Applications for new NHS dispensing contracts are made directly to the NHS trust you fall within. The regulations are strict and quite complex, so rather than us complicating things further, take a look at the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC)  website where you can find the important information and links you will need.


As with any business, buying or opening a pharmacy can be an expensive process but it will hopefully be all worth it in the end. To help get you up and running you might want to think about some of the following

  • Do you have a realistic idea of how much setting up the pharmacy will cost? Do you know how you are going to raise the capital e.g. startup loans or investors?
  • Do you have a clear idea of what your monthly overheads will be? Do you know how much you will need to bring in in total in order to make a profit/breakeven?
  • Will you have a contingency fund in place in case you miss your target?
  • Will you be giving yourself a guaranteed salary or will you only take this as and when the business is making profits?
  • Who will manage the finances of the business? Do you plan on doing it yourself or will you use the services of an accountant?

We hope that this quick guide comes in useful if you are planning to run your own pharmacy but if all that red tape is just too much for your stomach then maybe you would like to consider some of these:

How to start a bookstore 
How to start a restaurant 
How to start a coffee shop 

information provided correct at time of publication but please do check current legislation as rules and regulations do change. 

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Published on: 29th January 2014

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