Open Pharmacy in 2022

The pharmacy sector has faced stiff competition from online pharmacies and parapharmacies in recent years. Since 2018, the government has implemented measures to facilitate the creation or acquisition of pharmacies, thus opening up new possibilities. However, pharmacy openings are highly regulated. We give you all the conditions to follow to open a pharmacy in this article.

Who can open a pharmacy?

To open or take a pharmacy, you must have a doctorate in pharmacy.

In addition to a doctorate in pharmacy, you must meet certain criteria and have one of the following:

  • At least 6 months of internship experience at the end of study in a pharmacy or hospital pharmacy;
  • OR At least 6 months professional experience as Assistant or Officiating Pharmacist in a Pharmacy.


These conditions do not apply if you are a former hospital pharmacy intern or if you registered with one of the sections of the Order of Pharmacists prior to January 1, 1996.

Till date it is not possible to open pharmacy without degree. If you’ve ever wanted to study to become a pharmacist, know that after passing the pace, you can choose between a short or long cycle. The shorter cycle in 6 years allows you to work in the pharmaceutical industry or in pharmacies. The long cycle, lasting 9 years, will allow you to work as a biologist, teacher-researcher or hospital pharmacist. If you want to open your pharmacy quickly, we recommend you follow a shorter cycle. That’s enough because it gives you a doctorate in pharmacy.

What are the conditions for opening a pharmacy?

In France, the conditions for opening a pharmacy are highly regulated. In addition to the requirements in terms of training, two requirements are requested. On the one hand, you must be registered by order of a pharmacist. On the other hand, it is necessary to obtain the approval issued by the Regional Health Agency (ARS).

To open your own pharmacy, you may decide to take over an old pharmacy or build a new one. Keep in mind that acquisitions happen more often because they have the advantage of avoiding the digital clause imposed for manufacturing pharmacies as well as investment constraints. However, the survival rate after 5 years is 82% compared to 92% for a new pharmacy.

The process to pick up a pharmacy is simple. All you have to do is to acquire the goodwill as well as the shares. The development of the amount of goodwill is based on:

  • Turnover (between 70 to 110 per cent of annual turnover)
  • gross operating surplus.

However, it is imperative that you operate the same way as your predecessor. Namely, its employees, distribution channels and suppliers, name … The financial aspect is also very heavy as the cost of acquiring a pharmacy is an average of 1.05 million euros. However, it remains an interesting option to consider.

What is the legal framework for opening a pharmacy?

There is a wide choice of legal status to operate your pharmacy! If you want to practice alone, you can turn to IE. This position can be interesting if you want to grow your activity in a small town that will not require recruiting to run a shop.

There are more specific forms such as SNC (company in collective name), SARL (limited liability company), or even SELAS (generous exercise company by simplified verbs) or SELAFA (liberal exercise company with unknown form). To make the best choice, you can go to a legal platform like LegalSart or LegalPlace. You can choose to take steps to build your online business alone or with a legal professional.

Open a pharmacy in 3 steps

Study the market and draw up a business plan

In order to open your pharmacy, it is important that you prepare a business plan to determine whether your project is financially viable. When developing your temporary budget, you will need to take into account a number of expenses such as commercial rent, setting up drug stocks, an accountant’s costs, insurance, maintenance, energy, communications and pharmacist’s order contributions. In the case of construction, it will also be necessary to take into account the opening costs such as the acquisition of cash registers, furniture, computer equipment and premises.

We advise you to highlight key indicators in your business plan such as the margin rate, the turnover generated over the previous period and the turnover per employee. This composition can be quite expensive. On average, the budget for opening a pharmacy is €150,000.

choose the right location

In order to choose the best location, we recommend you study the local market to determine the type of customers, their expectations and the level of competition. You can also estimate your turnover and observe the prices charged by the competition. Be careful, as your location area will definitely be imposed on you by the ARS.

Equip yourself with the right tools

You will need to equip yourself with all the computer tools, but you will also need to stock up on medicines. You should also have cash register software, an invoicing tool, and a payment terminal.

To manage your finances and ensure the stability of your pharmacy, you may also consider surrounding yourself with an online accountant. You can also create a website but in this case you will need to seek authorization from the regional health agency you depend on.

What are the administrative procedures for opening a pharmacy?

Opening a pharmacy requires 3 steps:

First, you need to contact ARS to obtain an operating license. ARS issues an operating license in a 2-stage process. First, you’ll need to make a pre-request to the ARS, who will send it to the prefect, the National Order of Pharmacists and the Pharmacists’ Unions, for their opinion. If within 2 months you do not have a response, the opinion is considered favorable. Then, within 4 months of the registration of the request, the ARS will issue its decision. Note because here the process is reversed, if you don’t have a reply, it means your request has been rejected.

Approvals are issued by issue number corresponding to the number of pharmacies in the city according to the number of residents. For a municipality with between 2,500 and 30,000 inhabitants, there is 1 pharmacy for 2,500 residents. For a municipality of more than 30,000 residents, there should be 1 pharmacy for more than 30,000 residents. In addition, ARS may impose on you the minimum distance with the nearest pharmacy and the area of ​​the municipality you will need to settle in. If you want to set up in a city of less than 2,500 residents, you need to be the only pharmacy in town.

Secondly, it is imperative that you register with the Order of Pharmacist as this is a regulated profession in France. For this you can send a request letter for registration on the orders of the pharmacist in your department. Then you have to compile a file with your diploma.


Since pharmacy dispensary is considered a business activity, your contact regarding administrative procedures for your legal status will be the Business Formalities Center (CFE) and Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI).

Finally, when you select the name of your pharmacy, you will need to visit the INPI website to check that the name chosen is not in use or protected.

Third, in order to operate your pharmacy, you must make a declaration to the Regional Council of Pharmacists’ Orders. And register with Health Insurance to join the National Conference of Pharmacists.

When all these formalities are completed, you can finally open your pharmacy!

questions to ask

Can we open pharmacy without contribution?

It is almost impossible to open a pharmacy without contribution as banks require a minimum contribution to the project. If your contribution is low, we recommend that you create a solidly constructed business plan to reassure your investors.

Who can open a pharmacy?

Only a person having Doctorate in Pharmacy and 6 months end-of-study internship experience or 6 months of professional experience justified can claim to open a pharmacy. Therefore it is forbidden to open a pharmacy without a pharmacist.

What is the minimum number of residents it takes to open a pharmacy?

You need at least 2500 residents in the municipality you want to settle in.

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