Peculiarities to consider in writing a plan for a pharmacy or pharmaceutical business
This is an interesting topic because the pharmaceutical industry is a peculiar one that is significantly different from all other industries in many ways. From entry into the industry, how you run your business, and many other things that obtains in the pharmaceutical industry, everything is strictly regulated and your normal mindset which would have been fine for a normal business may not readily work when you approach a pharmaceutical business in the same way. When planning to start a pharmacy business, there are issues peculiar to the industry which you must put into consideration before you begin to make decisions and put heavy investments in the business. So, in this article, we will be looking at the peculiarities to consider in writing a plan for a pharmacy or pharmaceutical business.
It is important to note that there are many people who want to go into pharmacy business in Nigeria and simply assumed that everything is the same in the pharmaceutical industry as it is in other industries. You need to pay attention to this if you are planning to start a pharmacy business, especially if you are not a pharmacist. If you are not a pharmacist, entry requirements are even tougher and if you are not a very strong and well-connected person, you may end up being frustrated. So, I admonish you to read this article carefully and put all necessary factor into consideration when starting your pharmacy business in Nigeria.
- Registration with the Pharmaceutical Council of Nigeria (PCN)
As a ground rule, no one may operate a pharmacy business in Nigeria without being a registered member of the Pharmaceutical Council of Nigeria (PCN), and that if why, if you have done your research very well, well over 80% of pharmacies in Nigeria are essentially owned by pharmacists. If you are not a pharmacist and you are dreaming of starting a pharmacy business, you should be ready for some serious matters to be dealt with. I know you are curious to ask me, “What about the rest 20% who are in the business and are not pharmacist?” Yes, I was going to tell you how that works. For those who are in the business but are not pharmacists, they will tell you it was not an easy walkover for them, but the most important thing to be said here is that, those who are not pharmacist essentially partnered with a pharmacist before their dream of owning pharmacy store could be realized – if you care to ask them, they will tell you. The challenge of partnership and its attendant issues are some other topics I wouldn’t want to start in this piece but at least you should know in advance that if you do not have a pharmacist as a really close friend, a family member, a spouse – you should be prepared for the toughest eventualities.
It is important to know that you cannot just set up a pharmacy business in any location you desire simply because you feel the location is potentially good for making a lot of sales, although that will be a smart way of deciding where to locate your business. There are strict regulations by the Pharmaceutical Council of Nigeria (PCN) on locations of pharmacies and various criteria are considered. Not only that, every pharmacy store in Nigeria got an approval from the council to situate their store in the particular place they have settled down for business. So, you cannot just go to rent or buy a place to set up your pharmacy simply because you deemed it a good place for business. PCN at its discretion might decide that the location isn’t right – and if you have invested so much in acquiring the place, what happens?
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- Marketing and Advertising
Every normal business person would be thinking about how he is going to market and promote his business with one side of his brain, when starting the business. This is because it is generally believed that marketing is one of the pillars of a successful business and only an ignorant person will be planning to start a business without any plan to market his products and services. Again, if you are planning to start a pharmacy business and you bring the mindset of “marketing or promoting what I sell”, the normal way you would do in another type of business, you will be shocked how different things can be in the pharmaceutical realm! There are strict principles and guidelines permitting and prohibiting how far pharmacies can go in advertising and promoting their businesses. Knowing about these limitations and prohibitions ahead of jumping into the business will make a lot of sense. There are certain adverts that you can’t do for a pharmacy business in Nigeria (I am not certain of what obtains in other countries of the world, you might be able to do a bit of research if you are interested in that) and violating these guidelines could attract severe consequences – and of course, ignorance won’t a tenable excuse in any way.
These are some of the peculiarities around the pharmacy business in Nigeria which I feel anyone planning to go into the business, or writing a pharmaceutical business plan in Nigeria, should consider, before embarking on writing the business or jumping into the business. There might be some other important points different from the one I have shared above, please if you know any other, feel free to share them in the comment section below so that we can all learn together and we can jointly provide useful and helpful information for those who are thinking of going into that line of business.
Finally, if you are thinking about starting a pharmacy business in Nigeria, or you are conducting your feasibility studies and writing your business plan ahead of the commencement of the business, the above points will prove more than useful to you, and they should be considered and factored into any other things you are working at.
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