Can a Nurse Open a Pharmacy in Nigeria?

A pharmacy is where drugs are dispensed to patients. It could be a section of a hospital and it can exist as a standalone massive drug store (known as a community pharmacy).

A pharmacy is quite different from a patent medicine store (popularly called “chemist shop” in Nigeria), which is permitted by law to dispense only basic medications that mostly don’t require a doctor’s prescription. While a pharmacy may be owned only by a licensed pharmacist, anyone can own or open a chemist shop in Nigeria.

Due to increasing awareness of the lucrativeness of the pharmacy business in Nigeria, many non-pharmacists are interested in the business. This explains why nurses, doctors, and even non-health professionals are looking to tap into the business.

Can a Nurse Open a Pharmacy in Nigeria?

The answer is NO! A pharmacy deals in drugs, which are highly sensitive and guarded products, and as such only licensed pharmacists are allowed to open pharmacies in Nigeria. This is because they are the only set of professionals who have been trained to prepare, handle, prescribe, and dispense drugs correctly.

A nurse, on the other hand, has been trained to monitor sick people and cater to their immediate needs. This is clearly parallel to what a pharmacist does. It is therefore justifiable that the law in Nigeria doesn’t allow nurses or other non-pharmacists to open pharmacies in the country. Not even pharmacy technicians can open pharmacies in Nigeria.

Is There Any Way Around It?

Yes, there are some ways a nurse can still manage to open a pharmacy in Nigeria. However, not all of these options are legal. In this post, we’d be revealing the two most widely adopted options.

First option

A nurse can open a pharmacy using the license of a licensed pharmacist. To adopt this option, the nurse must also hire a pharmacist to manage the business. This managing pharmacist is known as a superintendent pharmacist and must be available in the facility at all times.

In fact, the pharmacy could be registered with the license of the same superintendent pharmacist provided the same license hasn’t been used to open another pharmacy elsewhere (the law allows only one pharmacy per license). In this case, the superintendent pharmacist is presented as the owner of the pharmacy, while the original owner “lies low”. This option isn’t legal as it involves some elements of falsification.

Second option

The only legally permitted way for a non-pharmacist to own a pharmacy in Nigeria is to hold shares in the pharmacy. The requirement is that a pharmacy must be the chief shareholder.

So, if a nurse is interested in owning a pharmacy, she should strike a deal with a licensed pharmacist who has the same intention. However, she would be coming into the business as a partner whose share percentage must be less — slightly, at least — than that of the pharmacist.

So, technically, by adopting this option, a nurse doesn’t own the pharmacy and doesn’t have sole control over it. But since this is the only legally sanctioned option, she can go with it for the peace of mind that it would bring.

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