How to set up a pharmacy - practical tips

Service Business

Unfortunately, health problems are an inherent part of life and sooner or later affect everyone. Every year more and more money from the household budget is spent in pharmacies. It is therefore worth taking a look at how their activities are regulated and what conditions must be met in order to be able to run your own pharmacy. Check how to start a pharmacy!

General characteristics of the pharmacy

The pharmacy is a public health facility in which the authorized persons deal in particular with the provision of pharmaceutical services, i.e .:

  • dispensing medicinal products and medical devices,
  • preparing prescription drugs within 4 hours of the patient submitting the prescription, and in the case of a prescription for a prescription drug containing narcotic drugs or marked "dispense immediately" - within 4 hours;
  • preparation of pharmaceutical drugs;
  • providing information on medicinal products and medical devices.

Pursuant to Art. 87.1 of the Pharmaceutical Law Act, three basic types of pharmacies can be distinguished:

  • generally accessible pharmacies - supplying the public,

  • hospital pharmacies - supplying organizational units of the public blood service, hospitals and other medical entities providing stationary and round-the-clock health services,

  • company pharmacies - supplying medical entities established by the Minister of National Defense and the Minister of Justice, offices, laboratories, sick rooms and therapeutic wards, and other enterprises of medical entities providing stationary and round-the-clock health services.

Preliminary requirements related to running a pharmacy

Running a pharmacy is a regulated activity and requires obtaining an appropriate permit issued by the provincial pharmaceutical inspector.

The right to obtain a permit to operate a pharmacy is held by an entity that:

  • does not conduct or has not submitted an application for an authorization to conduct wholesale trade in medicinal products or deals with intermediation in the trade of medicinal products,
  • does not run more than 1% of generally accessible pharmacies in the voivodeship or entities controlled by it, in particular subsidiaries within the meaning of the provisions on competition and consumer protection, run more than 1% of pharmacies in the voivodeship,
  • is not a member of a capital group within the meaning of the Act on competition and consumer protection, whose members operate more than 1% of generally accessible pharmacies in the voivodeship.

In addition, the following may apply for the right to obtain a permit to operate a pharmacy:

  • a pharmacist licensed to practice, self-employed,
  • general partnership or a partnership whose business is solely the operation of pharmacies and in which the partners (partners) are only pharmacists authorized to practice the profession referred to in the Act on pharmacy chambers.

If the pharmacy is run in the form of a general partnership or a partnership, the partner or partner of the applicant company may obtain a permit to run the pharmacy if (Article 99 (3a) of the above-mentioned Act):

  • does not run or is not a partner, including a partner, in a company or companies that run at least 4 generally accessible pharmacies in total,
  • is not a member of a capital group within the meaning of the Act on competition and consumer protection, the members of which operate at least 4 generally accessible pharmacies,
  • he is not a member of the bodies of a company authorized to run a pharmaceutical wholesaler or dealing with mediation in the sale of medicinal products.

If the applicant for a permit to operate a pharmacy is a doctor or dentist, the permit is issued if the applicant submits a declaration of non-performance of the medical profession.

For granting a permit to operate a pharmacy, a fee is charged in the amount of five times the minimum remuneration for work determined on the basis of the provisions on the minimum remuneration for work. In 2018, the fee is PLN 10,500.

In addition, the entity running the pharmacy is obliged to hire a person responsible for running the pharmacy, having the appropriate authorizations and taking responsibility for the proper running of the pharmacy.

Pursuant to Art. 88 sec. 2 of the aforementioned Act, the pharmacy manager must:

  • be the manager of only 1 pharmacy,
  • have the right to practice a profession,
  • obtain a master's degree in pharmacy,
  • have at least 5 years of work experience in a pharmacy or 3 years of work experience in a pharmacy if they specialize in pharmacy pharmacy.

The obligation to employ a manager does not apply to the entity running the pharmacy, which is itself a pharmacist who meets the above-mentioned requirements.

The pharmacy should be launched within 4 months from the date of obtaining the permit. Otherwise, the authorization to operate the pharmacy may be withdrawn.

Only a pharmacist or a pharmaceutical technician is authorized to dispense medicines at a pharmacy.

Acceptable forms of running a pharmacy

A pharmacy may only be run as a sole proprietorship, partnership or general partnership in which the partners (partners) are only pharmacists authorized to practice as a pharmacist. These restrictions do not apply to pharmacy outlets.

How to set up a pharmacy?

Running a pharmacy must be registered in CEIDG or in the case of choosing a form of business other than sole proprietorship - in the National Court Register.

As a rule, a person running a business who intends to sell goods or services subject to VAT, must submit a VAT-R form no later than on the day preceding the commencement of the sale. The said form is used to register the entrepreneur as an active or exempt taxpayer of value added tax. The completed form should be delivered to the head of the tax office competent for the place of residence.

Additionally, running a pharmacy may be associated with the obligation to record the sale at the cash register.

You can read about who is required to have a cash register in the article: Cash register - who is required to have one?

Pharmacy and refunds

Pursuant to Art. 45 sec. 5 of the Act on Reimbursement, pharmacies are required to prepare and agree with the National Health Fund, in paper or electronic form, a collective list of reimbursed drugs. The statement agreed in this way is then submitted to the appropriate voivodeship branch of the Fund and constitutes the basis for the payment of the refund.

PKD designation for a pharmacy

The basic PKD for a pharmacy is 47.73.Z - retail sale of pharmaceutical products in specialized stores.

How to set up a pharmacy - the best form of taxation

The entity running the pharmacy cannot choose the flat-rate form of taxation. In this case, the personal income tax may be paid only on general principles according to the tax scale or on a straight-line basis at the 19% rate.

Taxation according to the scale is profitable when the entrepreneur does not expect to exceed the first tax threshold (PLN 85,528 of income). In the case of taxation under general rules, the taxpayer has the option of taking advantage of many reliefs, which cannot be used by the flat taxpayer (e.g. pro-family relief or joint settlement with the spouse). When paying a flat tax, an entrepreneur, regardless of the amount of income earned, always pays a 19% tax. The tax-free amount is taken into account when calculating the tax according to the tax scale, however, with the change of regulations in 2017, the tax-free amount is included only under the first tax threshold, after exceeding the amount of PLN 85,528, the tax-free amount will not be taken into account. More on this in the article: Tax-free amount in business activity Therefore, the choice of a more favorable form of taxation for a pharmacy depends on the amount of income earned and the private situation of the taxpayer.

Pharmacy with or without VAT

When starting a pharmacy, it is possible to take advantage of the subjective exemption from VAT. Being a non-visitor pays off if

  • operating costs are low or zero,

  • products of own production are traded - if their production does not require the purchase of expensive materials at the same time,

  • the offer is aimed at private persons who cannot deduct VAT on purchases or entities exempt from VAT.

If, on the other hand, the activity generates high costs, the goods come from external suppliers, and the expected development expenditures are high - it may turn out to be more profitable to be a VAT taxpayer. Therefore, when running a pharmacy, it is worth considering registration as an active VAT payer.

Pharmacy ZUS contributions

If the pharmacy is run in the form of a sole proprietorship, general partnership or partnership, the entrepreneur is obliged to register himself for insurance at ZUS. Each partner from the above-mentioned companies, is a premium payer for its own insurance. The sum of contributions without voluntary sickness insurance (with contributions to the Labor Fund) in 2018 amounts to PLN 1,163.39. If the taxpayer decides to take out voluntary sickness insurance, the amount of his monthly ZUS contributions will be PLN 1,228.70 (including the contribution to the Labor Fund). Calculated for themselves, as a person conducting non-agricultural activity, the contributions for individual types of insurance should be accounted for by entrepreneurs in the settlement declaration (ZUS DRA form).

After setting up a business, the entrepreneur must apply for insurance at ZUS no later than 7 days after setting it up. He does it on the ZUS ZUA form, if the pharmacy is his only title to insurance, or to ZUS ZZA, if he also works elsewhere.

Relief to start

Thanks to the start-up relief, a taxpayer starting a business has the option not to pay social security contributions (retirement pension, disability pension, accident, sickness) for 6 months from commencement of business activity. However, in order to be able to take advantage of the start-up relief, the entrepreneur must meet the following conditions:

  • be a natural person (i.e. a sole proprietor or a partner in civil partnerships)
  • starts business activity for the first time or resumes it after at least 60 months from the date of its last suspension or termination
  • does not perform activities for a former employer for whom they worked full-time in the current or previous calendar year and performed activities falling within the scope of their current activity
  • is not insured by KRUS

If a person starting a business meets the conditions and takes advantage of the start-up relief, they will only be required to submit to ZUS a health insurance application on the ZZA form within 7 days of starting the business.

Preferential social security contributions

An entrepreneur who starts a business or the period of 6 months of start-up relief has passed, may take advantage of preferential ZUS contributions, which cover a period of 24 full months. The amount of ZUS contributions depends on the average salary in Poland. The basis for the amount of contributions for people who pay social contributions on a preferential basis is 30% of the minimum wage in a given year.

Facilitating the management of the pharmacy

The sheer volume of duties related to running a pharmacy is associated with the need to carry out activities that determine the existence on the market. Correct accounting for the company, supplying the pharmacy with pharmaceutical products or keeping a delivery schedule are just some of the daily duties of a business owner. In order to effectively manage a pharmacy, it is worth using dedicated business programs. The system is a comprehensive tool that greatly facilitates running your own business, including pharmacies. The program has all the necessary functions for the proper accounting of the enterprise, such as:

  • issuing and sending all types of invoices,

  • direct submission of e-declarations and SAF-T reports thanks to integration with the Ministry of Finance and e-ZUS,

  • entry of the purchase of fixed assets and automatic depreciation.

It is also important for every employer to establish cooperation with trusted people who will work for him. In this case, it is also good to use the tool supporting the entrepreneur in this regard, especially if it is a module of the program that we already use. The aforementioned system is equipped with the "HR and payroll" module, in which users can:

  • generating various types of employment contracts and payrolls,

  • keeping records of employees' working time,

  • creating annual declarations and sending them to the appropriate tax office,

  • generating HR printouts,

  • export to the Payer.


Company account for the pharmacy

The regulations do not explicitly indicate the obligation for an entrepreneur to have a separate company account. All payments can also be made through the entrepreneur's personal account. It is important that its owner is only an entrepreneur - it is impossible to use a joint account for spouses. When running a pharmacy open to the public, sales are made to private persons who are mostly settled in cash. Nevertheless, it is worth considering creating a separate company account, if only because of the reimbursement settlements with the National Health Fund.

What housing conditions for the pharmacy

A generally accessible pharmacy may be a separate building or be located in a facility with a different purpose - of course, provided that the facility and other activities are separated from other premises.

Pursuant to Art. 97 of the Pharmaceutical Law Act, the basic area of ​​a generally accessible pharmacy cannot be smaller than 80 m2. The exceptions are generally accessible pharmacies located in towns of up to 1,500 inhabitants and in rural areas where the basic area is allowed to be 60 m2. There are auxiliary rooms adjacent to the main pharmacy area, therefore the premises intended for a pharmacy should have approximately 100 m2. The exact surface and technical conditions of the premises intended for a pharmacy are described in the provisions of the pharmaceutical law. In addition, the pharmacy premises should meet the general sanitary, hygienic, fire and health and safety standards corresponding to the requirements specified for a public utility building.

GDPR in a pharmacy

A future entrepreneur running a construction company, in connection with the entry of new EU regulations, i.e. Regulation of the European Parliament and the EU Council 2016/679 of 27 April 2016 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Directive 95/46 / EC (in short: GDPR) on May 25, 2018, is obliged in particular to:

  1. ensuring an appropriate level of security of personal data processed, in accordance with the principles set out in the GDPR Regulation,
  2. performing obligations arising from the rights of persons to whom personal data relate,
  3. providing yourself, as the data controller, with the information indicated in the GDPR and information on how personal data will be processed (for what purpose) and on what legal basis.

Obligations, in connection with the GDPR, boil down to granting appropriate authorizations to persons who will have access to personal data (employees, contractors, contractors, etc.), signing contracts for entrusting the processing of personal data with third parties, obtaining from the person whose data personal data are obtained, appropriate consent (if required by the GDPR) and informing such a person about his / her rights.

Marketing in the pharmacy

One of the most important factors in the success of a pharmacy is its location. As a rule, the most popular pharmacies are pharmacies located directly next to outpatient clinics, hospitals or private doctor's offices. When choosing a location, you should also take into account such factors as: distance from other pharmacies, availability of parking spaces for patients, street type, surroundings and average traffic volume.

As a rule, advertising of pharmacies and their activities is prohibited by law. However, information about the location and working hours of the pharmacy should not be considered an advertisement, therefore information leaflets and information on the existence of a pharmacy posted on the Internet, e.g. on the free portal, are a good idea.

The pharmaceutical services market is difficult, however, with a little imagination and goodwill, you can achieve success in this area.