How Much It Cost To Start A Drug Shop In Uganda

How Much It Cost To Start A Drug Shop In Uganda

Drug Shop is a retail store where medicines and miscellaneous articles (as food, cosmetics, and film) are sold.

How Much It Cost To Start A Drug Shop In Uganda

Budget: Ush 8,000,000 or more

People get sick all the time and many Ugandans cannot afford a medical cover that will give them access to treatment and medication in hospitals and private clinics.

This leaves majority of them with the option of either a local government hospital and later, they have to buy their own medicine, or if the illness is not very serious, many opt for self-medication and just buy medicine from local pharmacies.

Pharmacies are very important business establishments in an area or community because this is where people buy drugs and other medical supplies needed especially for home medications, hospitals, or emergencies. Sometimes the nearest health facility may be far off and the only option is to buy medicine at the nearest pharmacy.

See Also: List Of Top Pharmacy Schools In Uganda

According to the National Drug Authority, the industry regulator, by 2014 there were some 5,000 registered pharmacies but unofficially the figure could be as much as 20,000, many of which are rogue operators.

Many entrepreneurs have taken advantage of the opportunity to come in and make a killing. The sector has evolved rapidly over the last decade, with increased consumption of pharmaceutical and personal care products in formal retail channels being driven by increased access and exposure.

Starting a pharmacy will be a lucrative business idea since demand for medicine and other non-pharmaceutical products like skin creams, lotions, and perfumes will always be present in every community. Since people are very concerned with their health, pharmacies are assured of customers every day.

Requirements For Opening A Pharmacy In Uganda


Many pharmacies in and around Kampala depend on walk in customers and some repeat ones. The ideal location for your pharmacy will therefore be in a high traffic area. This could be in a shopping center, mall or a busy residential area.

Another ideal location could be near a local health facility, especially a government hospital. The single biggest marketing advantage of this business is location, therefore make sure you decide on the right location for your pharmacy business.

Remember your target should be those around you and those who are passing around the location, therefore select an accessible and visible location where everyone can easily see, find and reach you. A reasonably well built room within a building is all you need to set up your pharmacy.

Your pharmacy is likely to operate late in the evenings, therefore, ensure you locate a safe and secure place. be ready to spend Sh 400,000 to Sh 2,000,000 on premises depending on location and size.

Location size/Area:

The minimum area of 10 square meter is required to start a medical shop or pharmacy or wholesale outlet. In case, the pharmacy business combines retail and wholesale, a minimum of 15 square meter is required.


The practice of pharmacy and trade in drugs in Uganda is regulated by the Uganda National Drug Authority, commonly called NDA.

To operate a pharmacy in Uganda, therefore, one has to be licensed by this board after meeting strict conditions. The licensing process is done through administration of a professional examination to persons with degree and diploma certificates from institutions in Uganda recognized by NDA. The practicing license will cost about Sh 250,000 annually.

You will need to register your business at with URA and get a tin number then set up your business as a community or retail pharmacy. The NDA will inspect and license your premises to allow you to operate your pharmacy legally and charge a fee of Sh 400,000 for the license after approval.

For professional recognition, growth, social welfare and interactions, it is advisable to join Uganda Pharmaceutical Association and Pharmaceutical Society of Uganda. This will cost you about Sh 250,000.

For more details on registration and licensing please visit NDA website here


Your drugs and other supplies for your pharmacy business will be sourced from manufactures and distributors within the area where you operate. It will be better to coordinate with pharmaceutical representatives in the area and with the health care facilities around your location.

Build relationships and familiarize all the drug companies and their representative in order to take advantage with their special offers, samples, and discounts.

Depending on the size of your premises, you can place an order of Sh 2,000,000 or up to Sh 6,000,000 for a start. After determining how the products move, you can thereafter order weekly or daily depending on your size and the volumes of drugs you sell. Many manufacturers and distributors will deliver your orders free of charge.


It is important to know that many pharmacies in Uganda majorly stock antibiotics, anti-malarial drugs, cough syrup/tablets, painkillers and creams for ailments while some of the fast moving drugs are cough drugs, pain killers, ulcer drugs and dewormers, especially in rural set ups. Stocking these products will guarantee you steady income.

Many also stock other non-pharmaceutical products like skin creams, lotions, perfumes, soaps and baby products such as diapers which also bring in good returns.

Organize your products especially the medicines. You may choose to arrange them according to products but usually, most pharmacies arrange by the maker of the drugs. You must develop a system in stocking, shelving, and retrieving the medicine. This will make your service faster and your products fresh.


Pharmacy business has no season therefore you have a chance to generate good income throughout the year. Small and medium sized community or retail pharmacies report earnings of about Sh 450,000 to Sh 800,000 in a week. This will depend very much on location and range of drugs and other products stocked.

Storage Facility:

The store must have refrigerator & air conditioner in the premises. According to the labeling specifications certain drugs like vaccines, Sera, Insulin Injections etc., are required to be stored in the refrigerator.

Technical Staff:

Wholesale – The sale of drug by wholesale shall be made either in the presence of registered pharmacist or in the presence of a competent person who shall be a graduate with 1 yr experience in dealing in drugs.

Retail – The sale of drug by retail must be made in the presence of registered pharmacist approved by the department, Registered pharmacist, or Nurse is required throughout the working hours.


A pharmacy business can be quite rewarding, but also has a number of challenges such as;

1. Large initial capital requirement for set up.

2. Registration and licensing process is very rigorous and can be expensive.

3. Discounts can lower profits by a big margin.

4. Dealing with customers who may not understand that some drugs are sold on prescription while some have different names because of different manufacturers.

5. The pharmacies in Kampala today are facing stiff competition and for you to survive this stiff competition, it be necessary to develop positioning strategies to enable your pharmacy occupy a distinctive place in the minds of the consumer and thus have a competitive edge over the other competitors.

Good marketing can keep you up with the competition in the area in which you are located. Word of mouth can also be a good advertising strategy especially when your customers are satisfied. Ensure you employ only qualified staff to ensure that customer expectations are met.

Pharmacy business involves human life therefore upholding good ethics is also important. Ensure that all drugs are sold on prescription where necessary and take time to advice your customers on the benefits of getting prescriptions.

To build a good customer base, you must meet your customers’ expectations fully.