Many things will need to be prepared to open a successful pharmacy business in the Philippines. Still, in today’s article, we hope to simplify the process by exploring the cost of opening a pharmacy in the Philippines, discussing the FDA requirements for pharmacy businesses in the Philippines, and many other topics.
One thing to remember when opening a pharmacy business Philippines is that the world of medicine is continuously changing. Therefore requirements and options are also continuously updating, and consequently, it’s recommended to contact the Professional Regulation Commission or the FDA for the latest information.
What is a Pharmacy business in the Philippines
There are many loose terms behind the definition of a pharmacy but fundamentally, a pharmacy is a company that sells legal medical care. There is a particular description of the practice of the pharmacy, which shows below.
A person shall be deemed to be practicing pharmacy within the meaning of this Article, who shall, for a fee, salary, percentage, or other reward paid or given directly to himself or indirectly through another (1) prepare or manufacture, analyze, assay, preserve, store, distribute or sell any medicine, drug, chemicals, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, devices or contrivances used in pursuance thereof; or (2) render pharmaceutical service in any office or drug and cosmetic establishment where scientific, technological or professional knowledge of Pharmacy is applied; or (3) engage in teaching scientific, technological or professional pharmacy subject in a college of pharmacy; or (4) conduct or undertake pharmaceutical, scientific research for biological and bacteriological testings and examinations.PRC
How To Start A Pharmacy Business In The Philippines
Below is a list of steps on how to start a pharmacy business in the Philippines; some steps are critical to take at specific points, while others are flexible and can be postponed until a later date or be moved forward if you choose.
1. Pharmacy Business Plan
One of the first stages of any successful business is the initial ideas, including the products, the people, and the money. If you are looking at how to start a pharmacy business in the Philippines, then a pharmacy business plan is the first area to investigate.
We have a free downloadable PDF business plan for the Philippines that can be downloaded by clicking on the tab at the top of this page.
The pharmacy business is very similar to other businesses. Still, the most challenging part of starting a pharmacy business in the Philippines is the medical law and requirements to operate this kind of business, therefore it may be wise to create 2 plans. The first plan includes your product prices, marketing, etc., and the other explores the legal requirements (more on this below).
If you are considering how to start a pharmacy business in the Philippines, one last consideration is to start small. For example, if you purchase medicine, it may be best to purchase popular and well-known brands that you know sell much easier. This process will likely be very valuable to your business in the early stages.
2. Legal Registration
As I’m sure you know, there will be a stage during your journey where you will need to take your ideas and your plan and turn it into a legal entity. To start a business in the Philippines, there are specific requirements. These include business name registration, Mayor permits, SSS certificate, and so on.
Previously we have spoken about registering the business in the Philippines in much more detail. Still, Pinoynegosyo has also explored the legal requirements for setting up a business in the Philippines, so I have added the link for your reference.
In most situations, you will need to have these requirements before you can apply to the FDA. Therefore it is often recommended to gain legal requirements in the early stages of business, and in some cases, processing time can take several weeks (or months). While you’re waiting for your applications to be approved, you can then move on to Step 3.
3. Choose And Move Into Your Location
One of the most significant categories, when you are looking at how to start a pharmacy business in the Philippines, is the initial capital? In fact – what is the cost of opening a pharmacy business in the Philippines is one of the most popular key phrases!
The reason I mentioned this is because the location of your business is one of the major expenses when starting a pharmacy business in the Philippines.
According to the Department of Health, the minimum square meters a pharmacy can be in the Philippines is 15 feet.
Therefore, to legally own a pharmacy business in the Philippines, you need to find a good-sized location that is highly accessible to your ideal customers or to local foot traffic. The more barriers customers face, the less likely they are to continue with the transaction.
This means that if you start a pharmacy business on the 7th floor of a mall where a customer has to pay for parking, then these additional barriers may cause the customer to choose another pharmacy. In other words, it is often a very wise move to make the buying process as simple as possible for your potential customers, and this includes finding a highly accessible location.
4. Hire A Pharmacist
Legally speaking, a pharmacy cannot operate without a pharmacist, and they must be available for every hour your pharmacy is open. In other words, if you are opening 24/7, then you will need to ensure that you have a pharmacist available throughout the day and night.
In addition to this, a pharmacist can only use their license on one business; therefore, you often need to employ full-time pharmacists when you are looking at how to start a pharmacy business in the Philippines.
Unfortunately, at times, your shop may be quiet, and therefore it’s often a great idea to train your pharmacist on tasks of the business. Also, it may be a good idea to move online once you have established your business. Your pharmacist will then be able to carry out tasks similar to what they would do in-store but instead online. This is one of the reasons why finding a talented and flexible pharmacist is key.
5. Complete FDA Regulation Philippines
You can see the complete list of requirements in terms of the pharmacy board law from the Congress Of The Philippines & Food And Drink Administration criteria on the relevant links, which I’ve included for your reference, but here is a summary of a few important points.
- Completed Application Form
- Fully Registered Business Name
- Location Plan And Additional Details
- Opening Fee
- Photo Id
- The Location Must Be Over 15 Square Meters In Size
- There Must Be A Registered Pharmacists During Operational Hours
Some of the requirements to open a pharmacy business in the Philippines will depend on your circumstances. In addition, the type of business you are opening (partnership, corporations, etc.) may require additional information.
6: Purchase Stock And Equipment
Before applying with the FDA, you may wish to buy certain equipment and stock, including signage and health and safety items. Still, in this stage, we assume that we’re all clear and have met the requirements, so the next stage is to purchase the relevant stock needed and any essential equipment.
You may wish to include medical equipment and a separate list of equipment needed for the business. For example, a computer system and payment system will be required in your store, and this falls under the umbrella of business equipment, but medical equipment could be a pulse rate machine.
7. Market Your New Pharmacy Business
In the early stages of the new pharmacy business, there will likely be very few potential customers who know about your store. So at this stage, we need to give potential customers a reason to visit your pharmacy, but before that, they need to know that your business exists.
Awareness marketing is often a great form of marketing in the early days. Still, marketing can be an expensive and lengthy process, and therefore is often ideal to look at your current situation and financial budget to decide which option is best for you and your business.
8. Grow Your Pharmacy
The final stage of how to start a pharmacy business in the Philippines is to grow your business, but how can you develop a pharmacy business? Unfortunately, some entrepreneurs often find this question difficult because they see the medical side and not the bigger picture, the customers.
If you want to earn 1,000,000 pesos then aim to help 1,000,000 people. Then the growth of your pharmacy business will be much clearer. So. the question can now be, how can I help 1 million people? To help 1,000,000 people, you need to learn how to help 100 people, and from there, you can grow. The key for any business is to break down the fundamentals and build the foundations.
One reason why many entrepreneurs worldwide succeed is that they started small. First, focus on helping 100 people, then build your process to helping 1,000,000 people. This can be for offering different products, selling online, growing your stores, selling your own product, etc.
Once you have this goal and start to take strategic action towards this goal, you will start to see that your business will naturally grow.
Pharmacy Business Laws In The Philippines
- All pharmacists are expected to abide by current standards such as the Philippine Practice Standards for Pharmacists, Good Laboratory Practice, Good Distribution Practice, Good Manufacturing Practice, and Good Clinical Practice, which are deemed vital in the performance of their roles and functions in different practices areas.
- Adult vaccines refer to cervical cancer, flu (influenza), pneumococcal, and other pre-exposure prophylactic vaccines to be administered to patients aged eighteen (18) years and above, and such other vaccines as may be defined by the Department of Health (DOH) in an administrative issuance
- Filling and Partial Filling of Prescription. – All prescriptions and pharmacist-only OTC medicines shall be filled, compounded, and dispensed only by registered and licensed 25 pharmacists, following the Philippine Practice Standards for Pharmacists, Dispensing Guidelines, and other standards about purity, safety, and quality. Filled prescriptions should be surrendered to the pharmacist for recording.
A few of the well-known pharmacy business laws in the Philippines are recommended to take a look at – the entire 36-page Republic act 10918 for additional clarifications and requirements when opening a pharmacy business in the Philippines.
Cost Of Opening A Pharmacy In The Philippines
The total cost of opening a pharmacy in the Philippines will depend on several components, but a minimum capital of 200,000 – 300,000, Pesos is often required. In addition, business owners may wish to include additional capital as an emergency fund.
As mentioned, the amount of money you will need would depend on several components. Of course, the most significant is the location. This is why consideration and a balance between accessibility and budget are often wise. In addition, there are also other factors such as registration fees, staff costs, and marketing expenses, to name a few.
It is possible to open a pharmacy in the Philippines much less, but several cost-cutting methods will need to be implemented to achieve this desired result.
On the other side of the coin, if you are looking to open up a pharmacy franchising business in the Philippines, then the required capital would depend on the franchising company in question. The average is between 500,000 pesos to 1,000,000 pesos.
Is Pharmacy Business Profitable In The Philippines
Profitability will depend on the business model. For example, profitability will be reduced if a business owner opens a franchising pharmacy business in the Philippines. On the other hand, if the business owner decides to open up his/her own pharmacy business, this would result in higher profitability. Still, several key components are necessary for the calculations.
Nonetheless, on average, the pharmacy business is highly profitable in the Philippines. However, some high costs, such as the pharmacy location and the staff, impact a pharmacy business’s overall profitability in the Philippines.
Whether a business is profitable is always very challenging as the business in question is not the most important thing; most often, it’s how the business is managed. For example, it is possible for a small pharmacy business to be more profitable (based on percentages) than a large pharmacy corporation. This is often due to the daily processes and management of the business. AKA leadership.