How to Start a Pharmacy/Drug Store in Nigeria (2020)

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 2020

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.