A man’s true wealth is his health and not pieces of gold or silver, said the great leader Mahatma Gandhi, but with the current lifestyle trends and routines, and also the unreliable change in the climatic conditions, the health of the common man is getting affected. For instance, the incessant rains gave rise to a number of patients suffering from dengue and influenza and the increased pollution has resulted in several cases of asthma. And the hectic and stressful work life has resulted in minor heart problems and cholesterol and blood pressure disorders. These conditions are not grave or serious and people tend to carry on working by relying on medication. Medicines are thus saviours that provide relief from common health conditions along with treating serious illnesses and chronic conditions and diseases.
A medical store is thus a noble profession that provides its service to the community in terms of medication to combat illnesses and diseases. Other benefits of medical store include-
- Variety of medication
A medical store provides medication on every possible illness or disease, affecting any age group, any gender, any organ or part of the body. Medical stores further have the advantage that if the drugs are unavailable they can procure it for their customers within a day too. Thus, the biggest advantage of a medical store is the wide variety of drugs it houses for every ailment identified.
- Types of drugs
Apart from having a variety of medication for any and every medical condition, medical stores even have medicines of various brands for the same indication. Additionally, medical shops also keep generic medications which are cheaper alternatives to the branded medicines but with the same effectiveness.
- Personal attention
In this age of ordering everything online, customers often consider ordering their medication online but a medical store provides personal attention to each and every customer visiting their shop. The medical shop staff gives an attentive ear to each customer, often listening to their problems and ailments, while giving them the exact medication or even suggesting an alternative, effective drug or a supplement to be had with the prescribed medicines to recover faster. This kind of personal attention is not possible while shopping via online portals that sell medicines. Also, being greeted by a friendly face who knows the customers personally helps create a bond between the customers and staff, thus bringing the customers back again to the medical shop for any further purchases.
- Home delivery
Medical stores have an additional benefit, which is that they provide home delivery of the medicines too. This adds to their various other advantages thus making visiting a medicine shop the preferred choice for customers.
The medical store is thus a profitable business opportunity which will always remain evergreen, being unaffected by the market conditions, economic trends or fluctuating market scenarios.
However, since a medical store deals with drugs (some of which can be high risk) and the products have a direct consequence (desired or unanticipated) on the health of the individuals purchasing/consuming them, the medical store requires certain licenses to operate the shop.
How to acquire medical store licences?
In order to operate the business, a medical store requires a number of licences and registrations, the details of which and how to acquire them are discussed here.
One of the most necessary and important license that a medical shop requires is the Drug License. The Drug license for setting up a pharmacy business is under the purview of the State Drugs Standard Control Organization, where the regulation that governs the manufacture and sale of drugs are given in Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940. This body issues two types of drug licenses-
- Retail Drug License (RDL)- which is issued to run a general chemist shop
- Wholesale Drug License (WDL) – which is issued to persons or agencies engaged in wholesale of drugs and medicines
Usually, a retail drug license is issued to entrepreneurs who have a pharmacy degree from a recognised institute or University.
The drug license can be acquired by logging onto varying forms found under the regulation of the Food Safety and Drug Administration Department website. The licence approval is based on certain criteria, which includes-
- The area of the drug store, which should be a minimum of ten square metres to run the shop.
- The technical staff of the shop who must be registered technicians with a pharmacy registration.
- The storage facility such as refrigerators and air conditioning to store the medicines
These factors decide whether a proposed medical shop will procure the Drug Licence or not. Along with these certain documents are also required to be submitted for procuring the drug licence to open a medical store.
The documents required while applying for the drug license include-
- The application form in the prescribed format
- The covering letter with the intent of the application which is signed by the applicant along with their name and designation
- The challan of fee deposited for obtaining the drug license
- The declaration form
- The key plan and site plan for the shop premises
- The basis of possession of the premises
- The ownership proof of the shop
- The constitution proof of the business
- The affidavit of registered pharmacist working full time and the appointment letter of registered pharmacist who is employed
The business registration is a must to run a pharmacy business. A business registration provides structure to the medical shop when the shop or business chooses a business entity. A business entity is an organisation set-up by the business owners considering the factors such as the size of the business or the turnover of the pharmacy business, nature of business, the number of members involved, capital requirement, etc. A business entity gives a recognition to the business different from its owner. Further forming an entity creates a reputation in the market and may help to gain the trust of the customers/clients, thus increasing the footfall to the medical store. The business entities that a medical store owner/s can choose from include sole proprietorship (single owner), partnership, one person company or a limited liability partnership considering the pros and cons of each entity with respect to the medical shop business.
The documents and procedure for application differ depending on the type of business entity the business chooses, as found appropriate by the entrepreneur. Similarly, the application needs to be submitted to the respective Registrar offices through their websites, depending on the type of business entity.
The medical shop is chiefly a retail business that is carried out from a commercial space. For an entrepreneur to open a medical shop within the municipal limits of the city, a Shop Act License is required. The Shop Act is designed to regulate payment of wages, hours of work, leave of the employees, holidays, terms of service and other work conditions of people employed in the medical shop. Shop Act is a mandatory registration for retail businesses located within municipal limits and it is compulsory to display this document in a prominent place in the medical shop premises.
The Shop Act License can be acquired by applying online on the MAITRI website or by opting for services that help apply for the Shop Act License. The documents required for Shop Act include
- A copy of the entrepreneur/applicant’s photograph
- A copy of the applicant’s signature
- The applicant’s ID proof such as Aadhar card
- A photo of the shop or establishment’s signboard
- A copy of the Drugs License
- A copy of the business registration certificate
The medical business deals in selling of goods, that is, medicines and therefore it needs to pay income tax. And for taxation purposes, the medical store business needs to register itself under the GST scheme. The GST registration is to apply for the Goods and Service Tax which is an indirect tax that is levied on goods as well as services. Under this system, a single product is taxed at the same rate in every corner of the country.
The GST registration benefits entrepreneurs who have an annual turnover within permissible limits. Further the GST registration eases the process of payment of tax and filing returns. Also, businesses with GST registration are viewed as trustworthy by the customers. The registration for GST can be done online and the documents required for GST registration include-
- A photograph of the applicant
- A copy of the ID proof of the applicant such as an Aadhar card, PAN card, election card, passport.
- The document proof of the principal place of business, that is, either the shop’s ownership documents or the rent agreement
- The documents verifying the type of business entity the medical shop has conformed to, that is, either a proprietorship or partnership or a company registration
- The document proof of the bank accounts in the name of the medical shop
- The digital signature of the owner of the medical shop
- The address proof of the residence of the owner
Medical store owners must apply for and get all these permits before starting the business because any medical shop business that has all the necessary registrations and licences is viewed as a reliable and trustworthy business by the customers. Applying for and getting all the registrations might seem overwhelming to the medical store owners, who have other essential factors to consider too while opening a medical store, such as getting the stock, hiring trained and registered staff, furnishing the shop, arranging for funds for the business, etc. But these entrepreneurs can always opt for services such as those offered by deAsra to get help with all the licence applications and its procurement, while the entrepreneurs concentrate on other aspects of starting a medical store.