Starting a Community Pharmacy

  • Price: £5.99
  • Published: August 2016
  • Type: Business Opportunity Profile
  • Format: PDF
  • What qualifications and skills are required?
  • Key market issues and trends
  • Trading, commercial and legal issues
  • Legislation
  • Further information

Independent community pharmacies supply prescription-only, pharmacy-only and general medicines, usually alongside a range of health and beauty products, toiletries and cosmetics, as well as providing advice about healthy living. Many community pharmacies also provide additional services such as medicine use reviews, flu vaccinations, a smoking cessation service, screening for sexually transmitted diseases, and specific support for people with conditions such as diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or high blood pressure.

Pharmacy is a regulated profession and it is illegal to practise as a pharmacist or pharmacy technician without being registered with the General Pharmaceutical Council, or the Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland. Once registered, a pharmacist with sufficient practical experience can complete further training and qualifications to become a pharmacist independent prescriber. Pharmacy premises must also be registered, and proprietors and managers must ensure that they comply with requirements covering staffing, medicine storage and disposal, and record-keeping.

A pharmacy can only be opened and run by a pharmacist who is a sole trader, a partnership consisting only of pharmacists, or a corporate body such as a limited company that employs a superintendent pharmacist to run the pharmacy.

The sale or supply of medicines from a pharmacy must be supervised by a 'responsible pharmacist', and pharmacies are subject to legislation and NHS contracting rules requiring the presence of the responsible pharmacist on-site.

In order to supply NHS-funded medicines and services, community pharmacies must have entered into a contract with their appropriate commissioning body. This will depend on the service and pharmacy location. For example, in England, in order to be reimbursed for medicine use reviews, the pharmacy must have been contracted to provide this service by the NHS England team for their region.

This profile provides information about starting up and running a community pharmacy. It describes the skills required, the training available, the current market trends and some of the key trading issues. It also explains the legislation that must be complied with and provides sources of further information and support.

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