Introduction The medical store business has deep roots in the Indian economy. It is very lucrative in nature as the medical store business profit margin is somewhat higher and also it doesn't easily get affected by the ups and downs in economic cycles. But, the pharmacy business may not flourish as expected if proper analysis is not done in advance. The most important thing to check out before opening a medical shop is the location. If a proper location is not chosen, it will be very difficult for the activity to sustain. If the location is already got saturated with such kind of business activities, it is better to avoid such type of locations. Though it is not ethically right, an informal tie-up with a doctor or with a clinic will always enhance your chances of succeeding in the venture. Purchasing a franchise is another way of succeeding in such kind of businesses as the franchise provider will look after many difficult things for making you profitable. The healthcare industry is rising exponentially over the years and will continue to rise so in future also. So, if you take proper steps at right time, your drug store business can last through generations.
Infrastructure and investment required to start a medical shop
What is the criteria to get licence for medical shop Before opening a medical shop, you need to decide the type of firm you want. That means whether it should be a sole proprietorship firm, a partnership firm or a private limited company. For a sole proprietorship firm, there is no requirement of any business registration that need to be done but a partnership firm may be registered with the Registrar of Firms by using a Partnership Deed written among different partners. But it is not mandatory for the partnership firm to be registered. It should be registered only when you foresee some legal disputes among partners in future. A private limited company will always be registered with the Registrar of Companies if it wants to do any business in India.
In order to open a medical shop you need to get a drug license from the State Drug Control Department. The medical store license procedure is almost same across all the states in India. The registered pharmacist that you hire must work full time in the retail pharmacy store and he must be an approved pharmacist by the state pharmacy council. In case of wholesale pharmacy shop, there is no need of a registered pharmacist to be employed. But in place of the pharmacist, a competent person, who must be a graduate with at least one year of experience in dealing with medicines or a person, who has passed matriculation and having 4 years of experience in dealing with medicines is to be recruited. Sale of drugs should only be done in presence of the registered pharmacist or the competent person. The name of the pharmacist/competent person will enter into the drug licence. Once a pharmacist/competent person is employed in one medical shop, he should not do any other job outside. Similarly, the registration certificate can only be used for a single medical shop. If all the requirements are met properly, you will need to submit the duly filled-in application form along with other mandatory documents to the drugs control department. In some of the states, application for drug license is submitted through online. Once submission of application is done, the drug control department will allot the license after doing thorough investigation. While running your business, if the qualified staff resigns, you will need to submit the duly filled-in application form again along with the original drug licence and other necessary documents so that the licensing authority can change the name in the drug licence.
Documents required for medical shop licence The document list for opening a medical store is almost same for most of the states, though some states may ask for some extra documents. Here is the comprehensive list of important documents that need to be submitted to the Drug Control Department of the state.
VAT registration for medical shop
If the taxable turnover exceeds the limit specified by the state, you have to go for Value Added Tax (VAT) registration with the Sales Tax department of the state in which your business unit exists. Different states have different turnover limits for VAT registration. Check the turnover limit of your state and go registering VAT for medical store if your business turnover exceeds the limit. A Tax Payer Identification Number (TIN) will be allotted for your business if you register for VAT. If you are undertaking interstate trading, you also have to register for Central Sales Tax (CST). You have to file VAT returns regularly by using the TIN number that is allotted to you. Once you know how to open a medicine shop in India, it is utmost important to know about the tax consequences of your business sale and you should be thorough in filing your taxes.
If Goods and Services Tax (GST) is implemented in India, the VAT and CST registrations will be replaced by GST registration. The GST registration process will be somewhat simple as all the indirect taxes registrations will come under single GST registration and the process will be uniform across India. There won't be any separate turnover limits for different states and the tax levied across different states in India, will also be uniform.
Update - As Goods and Services Tax came into force from 1st July, 2017, you need to do GST registration for your medical shop. So. there won't be any VAT or CST registration from 1st July, 2017.
A comprehensive guide lines for opening a drug store. Nice article.
Nowadays many drugstores are keeping items of general interest in their drug stores like chocolates, biscuits, health related foods, special creams for various beauty enhancements and many other items like that. This will be a good idea to keep these items also as people coming for drugs may see them and purchase these items.
It will also help the shopkeeper to increase his revenue specially when margins on drugs are going down with time.
A nice guide as to how to go about starting a medical store.
Starting a medical shop is not as lucrative it was (profit-wise) a few years ago. Now there are many stringent guidelines regarding generic medicines and not selling branded medications. The margins over some common classes of medications have been reduced. There are many shops offering 10-15% discount and free home delivery. E-medicine dispensing sites are very popular and people get a flat 15% off.
Substitution of medicines (for a better margin) is now frowned upon. Many doctors or private clinics have started to dispense medicine themselves. So, one needs to do a good research, have current supply and demand figures and scout the locality where they intend to start the medical shop.
Restricted drugs and controlled drugs need to be audited strictly to prevent misuse and pilferage. It is better to have a separate store under lock and key. If at all one starts a medical shop, they need to have other basic items like travel related items, cosmetics, hair care products, gadgets used (blood sugar checking devices, portable BP apparatus, nail care kits) etc. Many shops are now focussing on allocating prime space to ayurvedic related products. One should also be prepared to do home/apartment deliveries and do some marketing themselves to earn better revenue.
Opening a drugstore is a good idea. It is a lucrative business proposition.
At the same time there are some downsides also. If the sale of drugs is not up to the mark then the stock going useless after the expiry dates is a big challenge. Another issue is different brands of same medicine costing differently and the customer insists for the one which his doctor has prescribed. This leads to increase in the inventory and naturally the costs of maintaining it will increase.
These are some considerations which are to kept in mind while going for a drugstore.