Photo Credit: FATE Foundation

Generally speaking, self-diagnosis and frequent trips to the pharmacy are an all too common phenomenon amongst Nigerians seeking healthcare, probably because of the relative cost of accessing healthcare at the hospitals. It is not uncommon finding individuals walking into pharmacies to buy drugs based on perceived symptoms. For instance, Nigerians typically buy malaria medication at pharmacies once they suspect malaria. However in recent times, there have been cases of individuals losing their lives to seemingly minor ailments after buying counterfeit medications at the pharmacy. The sensitive role pharmacy play in providing healthcare service therefore necessitates the strict compliance with regulatory requirements.

While compiling the regulatory requirements for starting a hospital business, we reached out to a FATE Alumni and pharmacist, Mrs Owoeye Adedoyin to collaborate some of our findings. The regulatory requirements include:

Licenses and Permits

  • Practising License: Every pharmacist must have this license. New licenses cost about One Thousand Naira (1,000 Naira) and is subject to annual renewal.
  • Business Registration:  you can only begin the process of starting up a pharmacy business after you’ve registered your business with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).

Location, Infrastructure and Equipment

Location must be:

  • At least 30 square meters for retail pharmacy and 50 square meters for a wholesale pharmacy.
  • 200 meters from any nearby registered pharmacy.

   –  Location Inspection

Your location must be inspected and approved before you commence business. You are required to:

  1. Submit a request for inspection at the Pharmacist Council of Nigeria (PCN) office.
  2. Pay a location approval fee of Ten Thousand Naira (10,000.00 Naira) for retail and Twenty Thousand Naira (20,000.00 Naira) for wholesale.
  3. Request for final inspection after submitting necessary documents. For pharmacists venturing into the pharmacy business, you are required to submit[1]:
  • Application letter for premises registration
  • CAC certificate of incorporation
  • Superintendent Pharmacist license
  • Resignation letter and acceptance of resignation letter from place of last appointment as a superintendent Pharmacist (or NYSC discharge certificate for a post NYSC Pharmacist)
  • Letter stating that you have only one full time pharmacist job

For non-Pharmacist venturing into the pharmacy business, you are required to submit the above documents in addition to the following:

  • Appointment and acceptance of appointment letters
  • A letter promising to give the superintendent Pharmacist a free hand
  • A legal agreement between the superintendent Pharmacist and the managing director
  • Letter informing PCN of appointment of a superintendent Pharmacist
  • PCN representatives usually visit locations for a final inspection about 2 weeks after your application is received. They will expect to find the following at your premises:

Educational Qualifications and Staffing Requirements

Every pharmacy is expected to have:

  • A superintendent pharmacist who would be primarily responsible for the observance of proper standards of conduct in connection with its operations[2]. The pharmacist should possess a minimum educational qualification of a Bachelor of Pharmacy (abbreviated B Pharm) and at least 3 years postqualification.
  • Employing of other staff, either based on their educational qualification or experience in the pharmacy service is totally dependent on the superintendent pharmacy.

Regulatory Bodies

  • Retail pharmacies are regulated by the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) and the Pharmacist Council of Nigeria (PCN).
  • Wholesale Pharmacies are regulated by the National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).


It is one thing to start this business, and it is also another thing to maintain the expected and required standard both ethically and professionally. Hence the need for regulatory requirements cannot be over emphasized. Your Pharmacy is said to be legitimately ready for business once your premise is approved.

[1] Rich Nigerian Pharmacist, Pharmacy Registration, Pharmacy Registration Procedure

http://richnigerianpharmacists…  accessed Mar 3, 2017

[2] Pharmasisits Council of Nigeria, Code of Ethics in Nigeria…  accessed Mar 7, 2017…  accessed Mar 7, 2017