How to Start a Pharmacy/Drug Store in Nigeria (2024)

Starting a retail drug store 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 drug store 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 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.

Types of pharmaceutical store in Nigeria

There are two types of drug store in Nigeria and they are:

1. Hospital pharmacies: This type of pharmacy are found in hospitals and clinics and are usually stocked up with different drugs to cater for the immediate needs of patients in hospitals.

2. Community pharmacies: Most people refer to them as chemist stores. You will find them outside the hospital premises, maybe in a street, roadside inside a shop. They sell drugs to the public.

In this article, we shall focus on how to start a community pharmacy in Nigeria which can also be referred to as retail pharmacy business in Nigeria.

Not every can open a drug store in Nigeria. This is because the sale of every drug in pharmacies are usually regulated and monitored by the Pharmaceutical Council of Nigeria (PCN). There are two legit ways to open a pharmacy in Nigeria and they are;

A. Starting a drug store under a franchise

A way to start a pharmacy store in Nigeria under franchise is to go into a partnership with someone who has a registered pharmaceutical business.

The benefit of starting a retail drug store using this method is that you will not pass through the difficult registration processes of opening a pharmacy in Nigeria as stipulated by the regulating body, PCN.

What you need do in this method is to put in your capital and keep to the agreement of the partnership.

B. Starting a retail drug store on your own

If you do not like the idea of starting your pharmacy under a franchise, you can open it on your own. The only difficulty here is that you would have to register your drug store as stipulated by the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PCN).

Also, only trained & certified pharmacists have the legal right to set up a pharmacy in Nigeria. If you have the capital and want to venture into this business, you would have to employ a qualified pharmacist or go into partnership with one.

Whatever method you choose that is convenient for you to set up your pharmacy, the following steps you will guide you to set up your own drug store.

Guide on How to Start a Pharmacy/Drug Store in Nigeria 2024

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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.

Finally, It is also advisable to draw up a business plan before you start a pharmacy in Nigeria as this will help you in planning how the business would fare on the long run.

Patent Medicine Store in Nigeria: Guide on How to Start

Before opening a patent medical store to start selling over the counter drugs in your community, you should be aware that patent stores are similar to chemist stores but have no pharmacist running its operations. Usually, patent medicine stores are found in villages and rural communities, and they are managed by people who stock over the counter (O.T.C) drugs and sell them.

patent medicine stores in Nigeria

Patent stores can also be found in streets of cities where pharmacy/drug stores are limited. Aside complementing the services of pharmacist in bigger towns, patent medicine stores help make drugs accessible to people of the vicinity easily. Starting a patent medical store in Nigeria has been dully approved by the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (P.C.N) and can only function within states of the country.

Who Can Manage A Patent Medical Store

Not everyone is permitted to run or open a patent medicine store in Nigeria. According to the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria, only individuals who has undergone training about drugs and their uses can manage a patent medicine store. Those who are knowledgeable also can also be allowed to do same. PCN, through National Association of Proprietary and Patent Medicine Dealers (N.A.P.P.M.D) made sure that the requiremets to start a patent medical store are dully obeyed because of its delicate nature.

How Lucrative Is Opening A Patent Medicine Store

Since medicines and drugs are essential to the human health, starting a patent medical store is very profitable just like food business. One can earn over N500,000 or N1, million as profit per month depending on the stock available and patronage received at your store. You should know that running a medical store of any sort is subtle, as it involves the lives of people you are administering the drugs to.

How To Start A Patent Medical Store in Nigeria (2024)

The following are tips and steps to opening your own medicine store in Nigeria today:

Step 1: Draw up a business plan

This is the first step to owning your patent store. You have to have a business plan detailing how you want to run the store, the amount you want to invest in registration and renting of a shop. You might also want to include employing staff in your business plan, such as a pharmacy technician to aid in managing the medicine store.

Step 2: Obtain license from PCN

Its very compulsory to obtain valid license from the Pharmaceutical Council of Nigeria before starting your patent medicine store in any state in Nigeria. Note that there are laws which must be obeyed in order to start a patent store. Its PCN that regulates and issues certificates via the ministry of health in every state of the federation. Without this license, you can’t operate your patent business or join other proprietary medicine vendors and distributors in Nigeria.

Step 3: Register your patent medical store

There are requirements you must meet to join the National Association of Proprietary and Patent Medicine Dealers (NAPPMED). This is the regulatory body legally approved by the Pharmacist Council of Nigeria to regulate and control patent medicines stores in the country.

To join, you would submit your certificate of proof and license from the PCN, after which you make compulsory payment for registration to be a member of the body. Aside this fee, a yearly amount is collected by all member of the National Association of Proprietary and Patent Medicine Dealers (NAPPMED). This amount varies on location and area where you want to set up your store.

Step 4: Find a reliable drug supplier

The next step is to look for a credible supplier of drugs to your store. To achieve this, you must have registered with NAPPMD, the body in charge of patent medicine dealers. Its here you might have connections to meet retail/wholesale drug suppliers that would sell original and not fake sub-standard drugs.

Step 5: Register business name with CAC

Since you are independent and would run the patent business with a unique name, its important to register your business name with the Cooperate Affairs Commission (C.A.C). The process of registering a business name in Nigeria isn’t difficult as they would require that you provide two unique business names, provide evidence of license from Pharmacist Council of Nigeria, proof of payments to the CAC, and other documents to identify your business.

Step 6: Rent a suitable shop

You have to rent a store in the vicinity you wish to start a patent medicine store business. Target areas that lacks access to primary health care services. This would increase the demand for your business. Also make sure that the environmental condition is conducive for customers by making your store is neat. Try to observe the necessary hygienic practice. Do not situate your patent medicine store at unhygienic locations where garbage are dumped.

Note that patent stores should not be in close proximity to one another. The minimum distance of 200 meters must be observed from one store in busy areas to another. While 400 meters is permissible for less busy areas.

Step 7: Advertise your business

Unlike other businesses, there are strategic laws guiding patent store adverts. Although, getting people to know about your business is key for higher patronage, you have to know these laws guiding patent stores and apply them so that you will have more customers to patronize you.

Step 8: Attend orientation programs

The Pharmacist Council of Nigeria has in its yearly schedule to organise orientation programs for patent medicine dealers on a biannual basis. Always attend to gather more knowledge.  These programmes is vital to keep patent dealers up to speed with latest trend and findings in the drug industry.

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Oluchi Chukwu

Oluchi is a seasoned Information blogger, content developer and the editor of Nigerian Queries. She is a tech enthusiast who loves reading, writing and research

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