Home Business How to Start a Profitable Pharmacy Business in the United States

How to Start a Profitable Pharmacy Business in the United States

Start your own pharmacy business in the US

To start and grow a pharmacy business in the United States can be a rewarding venture. This is because of the constant demand for healthcare services and medications. However, like any other business, it comes with its unique challenges and regulations. 

In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the steps to start a pharmacy business in the U.S., provide relevant statistics, highlight key challenges, and explore related ideas.

Market Overview

According to the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS), there are approximately 61,000 community pharmacies in the U.S., with total sales reaching $400 billion in 2020. The pharmacy industry in the United States is projected to grow from USD 560.00 billion in 2021 to USD 861.67 billion by 2028 at a CAGR of 6.3% in the 2021-2028 period.

Education and Licensing

As of 2021, the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) reports that there are 143 accredited pharmacy schools in the United States. To start a pharmacy business, you or your designated pharmacist must have a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) degree and be licensed in the state where you intend to operate.

Business Plan

The Small Business Administration (SBA) reports that around 30% of small businesses fail during their first two years of operation due to various reasons, including poor planning.

Develop a comprehensive business plan outlining your business goals, target market, competitive analysis, and financial projections.

Location and Space

A study by the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) found that pharmacy businesses located in high-traffic areas tend to have higher sales. Choose a strategic location for your pharmacy, ensuring it complies with zoning regulations and offers adequate space for inventory, consultation rooms, and customer flow.

Regulatory Compliance

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates the pharmaceutical industry to ensure drug safety and efficacy. Comply with federal, state, and local regulations, including obtaining the necessary permits and licenses, and implementing systems for record-keeping and controlled substances handling.

Inventory Management

On average, independent pharmacies carry approximately 13,000 prescription and over-the-counter products. Establish relationships with pharmaceutical wholesalers and manufacturers to ensure a well-stocked inventory of medications, medical supplies, and healthcare products.


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of pharmacists is projected to grow by 3% from 2020 to 2030. Hire licensed pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to provide quality patient care and maintain operational efficiency.

Marketing and Customer Service

A study by the Pharmacy Times found that 62% of customers trust their pharmacists more than any other healthcare professional. Develop marketing strategies to build trust with your community and offer excellent customer service to retain and attract customers.

Technology and Automation

Automation solutions can save pharmacies up to 10 hours per week on prescription processing, according to a survey by Pharmacy Times.

Invest in pharmacy management software and automation systems to streamline operations and reduce errors.

Also Read:

6 Key Challenges in Running a Successful Pharmacy Business

1. Competitive Market

The pharmacy industry is highly competitive, with chain pharmacies dominating the market. Independent pharmacies must find their niche and differentiate themselves.

2. Regulatory Complexity

Keeping up with changing regulations, especially related to healthcare and controlled substances, can be challenging.

3. Insurance Reimbursement

Navigating insurance reimbursement processes and dealing with insurance companies can be time-consuming and complicated.

4. Inventory Management

Managing inventory and controlling medication costs while avoiding shortages is a delicate balancing act.

5. Staffing Issues

Recruiting and retaining qualified pharmacists and technicians can be a constant challenge.

6. Technological Advancements

Keeping up with technological advancements is essential for efficiency, but it can also be expensive and require ongoing training.

What Does the Business Cover?

A pharmacy business primarily focuses on the following:

  • Dispensing prescription medications and over-the-counter drugs.
  • Providing healthcare information and advice to patients.
  • Offering health and wellness products, such as vitamins and supplements.
  • Administering immunizations and vaccinations (depending on state regulations).
  • Collaborating with healthcare providers to optimize patient care.

Related Pharmacy Business Ideas Ideas

Compounding Pharmacy

Specialize in preparing customized medications for patients with unique needs, such as allergies or specific dosage requirements.

Start Online Pharmacy Business

Start an online platform to sell prescription medications and healthcare products, capitalizing on the growing e-commerce trend.

Telepharmacy Services

Offer remote pharmacy services to underserved areas, providing access to medications and consultations through telehealth technology.

Specialty Pharmacy

Focus on specific disease areas or patient populations, such as oncology or geriatrics, to provide specialized care and medications.

Also Read:

Medication Therapy Management (MTM) Services

Provide personalized medication management services to improve patient outcomes and medication adherence.

To start a profitable pharmacy business in the United States requires careful planning, compliance with regulations, and a commitment to providing quality healthcare services. By addressing the challenges and staying informed about industry trends, you can build a successful pharmacy business that serves your community’s needs while thriving in a competitive market.

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Emenike Emmanuel is a multiple award-winning blogger, CEO of Entrepreneur Business Blog, Chief Evangelist of Ebusinessroom Ventures, and the Lead Coach of an online community of over 12,000 business owners called, The Excellent Entrepreneurs' Network. He’s here to help you start, manage and grow a profitable and sustainable business using digital marketing strategies. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn & Pinterest with this handle, @emenikeng. Telegram group - t.me/yourfirst1000 | Email: [email protected]


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