Starting a pharmacy business in Dubai can be a rewarding venture that offers you independence. A chance to build something that benefits the local community.
Before you start, be aware that this is not the right sector for you if you are on a tight budget. Pharmacy business start-up costs can vary based on location, inventory, and staffing costs. On estimate, you’ll need between AED 450,000 to AED 700,000 to start your pharmacy. That amount may sound daunting but think about what goes into that number.
Four Big Contributors to Pharmacy Business are:
- Rent for the physical location
- License from the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) and Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED). Approval from the Dubai Municipality Health Regulation Department (HRD).
- Staffing costs (licensed pharmacists including any necessary training to get your employees up to speed)
- Inventory (both prescription drugs and retail products)
Understand the Local Market for Pharmacy
Pharmacies are amongst the fastest-growing categories in the local retail sector, taking up prominent spots within malls to being at most commercial and residential locations in Dubai. Most of this growth does not stem from independent operators. The new pharmacies are a part of big local or GCC chains or franchises of the big-name international brands.
If you have the means to start a franchise pharmacy, then you will be able to take advantage of brand name recognition and have access to an extended supply chain of vendors. Many franchise firms will even help you select a property based on extensive market research.
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If you are starting as an independent operator, then you will have to look at becoming a part of a buying group. This will help to achieve economies of scale and stay on top of the escalating cost of inventory and operations. Your due diligence and subsequent selection of the right buying group could decide the fate of your venture.
Pharmacy License Approvals
According to Federal Law no.4 (1993), your company needs to obtain a license from DHA to sell pharmaceutical products in UAE. You must appoint a pharmacist who must be holding a DHA pharmacist license.
A local UAE national sponsor is required to get a trade license from the DED. In summary, you need two licenses, one from the DED and the other from DHA.
Use the Services of a Business Consultant
While starting a business is relatively easy on your own in many sectors, the pharmaceutical sector is not one of them. Choose a Business Consultant that has successfully launched pharmacies in Dubai to help with all the details. Make certain he or she is someone who has ‘been there and done that.’
As a new business owner, you have dozens of other matters to concern yourself with. Be aware that mistakes made here have cost entrepreneurs many thousands of dirhams. Mistakes that could have been easily avoided, and money they did not have to lose. However, help from a seasoned consultant can pay handsome dividends.