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How To Open A Pharmacy In Dubai: Success Strategy of 2024

By Sumaiya Simran Last Updated -- Thursday, 2024-03-21
how to open a pharmacy in dubai

It doesn't matter whether the country is at the top or least in the list of developed countries in 2024. Every county must have highly advanced healthcare centers & pharmacies for their citizens. 

Dubai is one of the magnificent cities of UAE, where healthcare pharmacies offer advanced treatment and medication worldwide. Do you know how to open a pharmacy in Dubai? 

According to Google & Wikipedia, the United Arab Emirates is the most developed country with a high population rate. Besides, Dubai is also famous for its extraordinarily advanced infrastructural structure, healthcare, education, and economic diversification.   

Moreover, statistics show evidence of growth in the pharmacy business by 2028, and Dubai's annual growth rate will reach 4.52%. 

Indeed, starting a pharmacy business will be a profitable one in Dubai. But you need to know how to open a pharmacy in UAE. To learn more about the cost of opening a pharmacy in Dubai, new pharmacy opening procedures, and many more. 

Various Types Of Pharmacy Business Opportunity In UAE 


In UAE, there are different pharmacy businesses; choose the type that suits you. 

According to the law of Dubai Health Authority, every pharmacy entrepreneur has to follow some strict rules. For instance, healthcare-related organizations must be licensed as a free-zone corporation or within the mainland. 

If pharmacy owners choose the mainland, they need UAE nationals' sponsorship. Meanwhile, the entrepreneur can have full ownership if you select a free zone. 

However, applying for pharmacy license approval from the municipality, Department of Environment, and Ministry of Health is mandatory. Below are three types of pharmacy businesses: 

  • Pharmacy Store

A medical store certified to sell drugs, medicines, medical equipment, toiletries, cosmetics, and other convenience items. According to DHA law, this pharmacy store's licensed pharmacist must always stay inside. 

  • Para Pharmaceuticals Trading

This pharmaceutical business doesn't directly sell medicines or medical equipment; they are more focused on selling toiletries such as lotions, mouthwash, plasters, sanitizers,body spray, and other relevant products. 

  • Drug store

The drug store is quite similar to a pharmacy, selling various convenience products, medicine, and medical instruments but in wholesale quantities. It is also the supplier of the nearest pharmacy stores. 

How To Open A Pharmacy In Dubai- New Pharmacy Opening Procedure (Basic Process)

Of course, the guideline for opening a pharmacy differs depending on the country’s rules and regulations set by their law. Hence, if you are determined on how to open a pharmacy store in UAE, you first must go through the new pharmacy opening procedures. 

Dubai’s healthcare sector is still unsaturated, and opening a new pharmacy would be profitable for any pharmacy business. 

Besides, in Dubai, opening an independent pharmacy, franchise pharmacy, or retail pharmacy in any crowded place or in some residential area is very common. 

In Dubai, many degree-earned pharmacists have also opened their pharmacies. Sometimes, different small entrepreneurs open a pharmacy while not being a pharmacist.  

If an entrepreneur wants to start a pharmacy business in Dubai, they need to acquire the necessary legal requirements from the Ministry of Health regulations authority. 

According to the law created in 2007, law No.13 states that the owner must apply for an authorization letter from the toHealth Regulation Department before opening a pharmacy.

How To Open A Pharmacy In UAE - 5 Step Solution


Indeed, Dubai has developed their infrastructure and produces a lot of opportunities to employmentship. Dubai also developed an advancement in the healthcare sector and gained a good reputation. 

To embark in this healthcare sector, the pharmacy entrepreneur needs to have clearance in following documents mentioned below from Dubai Health Authority (DHA).

Process 1: Legal Documents Clearance From Dubai Health Authority (DHA)

Initially, the pharmapreneurs need to navigate the licensing process from DHA. The DHA will set the pharmaceutical standards, fix the healthcare policies, and issue licenses to permit running a healthcare business in the mentioned location. 

Moreover, the pharmapreneurs must also get clearance from DHA to manufacture, purchase, and sell pharmaceutical equipment legally in the UAE. 

All this process will happen in two stages: initial application and final approval. 

Initial stage: The pharmacy entrepreneur must submit a proposal detailing the selected location (plot no, & schematic blueprint) to the Health Regulation Department (HRD). 

Then, the HRD will review the complete application based on the Dubai healthcare policy. If it matches the requirements, they will accept & provide the license. However, if HRD rejects the application, HRD will provide a list of improvements needed before starting a pharmacy. 

Final Approval Stage: The pharmacy entrepreneurs must apply to the Dubai Department of Economics Development (DED) for mainland application. In this stage, the pharmapreneurs must submit an online request for a final inspection by HRD. Only if HRD finds everything right, such as all the recommendations suggested by HRD, will they publish the license.

Process 2: Choose Right Location 

Choosing a location is necessary and one of the initial steps to take before starting a pharmacy business. A pharmacy owner needs to ensure that store space fulfills the requirements of UAE law. Thus, before finalizing any location, a pharmacy store owner needs to confirm some of the basic criteria: 

  • Whether the neighborhood has a significant need for pharmaceutical services or not. 
  • Pharmacy store owners can survey to find the demographics (major disease conditions, elderly population, track the standard of living, and many more)   
  • The pharmacy store needs to be near hospitals, clinics, medical centers, crowded areas, etc.
  • Crucial to consider the pharmacy rent and infrastructure expense
  • A pharmacy location with a good flow of point vehicles, parking space, and no pharmacy stores around the area.

Process 3: Required Documents Needed To Start A Pharmacy Business

Indeed, a pharmapreneur would need a multiple set of documents for a hassle-free process for a pharmacy license. Here is a list of required documents needed to open a pharmacy business: 

  • A pharmacy certificate from any recognized medical training institute  
  • Two years of professional pharmacy experience
  • A pharmacy evaluation from the Ministry of Health and Prevention 
  • Register a trade license from the Department of Economics Development
  • Curriculum vitae, which holds the entrepreneur's previous experience 
  • Lease Contract for the pharmacy premises 
  • Residency visa 
  • Financial bank details
  • Photocopy of the entrepreneur's passport 
  • Photocopy of national identity card 
  • Memorandum of Association (MOA)
  • Passport-size photographs 

Process 4: Dubai Health Authority Regulation

To operate a pharmacy in Dubai, it’s mandatory to comply with the operation standard instructed by DHA. In this section, I’ll disclose the compulsory rules a pharmacist needs to follow:

  • Employ a sufficient number of degree-earned pharmacists and pharmaceutical technicians. 
  • The pharmacy license needs to be displayed within the store 
  • The store opening/closing hours need to be clear and visible to the customer 
  • The store premises should be at least 30 sq. meters 
  • The pharmacy store needs to be on the ground floor of the building and 200 meters away from another pharmacy. 
  • All the medicine needs to be shelved appropriately 
  • Airtight locker for controlled medicines 
  • Must have a refrigerator with a display digital thermometer 
  • The pharmacy should be air-conditioned 
  • Emergency fire extinguisher 
  • Properly Curtained to prevent sun-heat 
  • Insect deterrent device

Process 5: Legal Frameworks To Open A Pharmacy 

Certainly, Dubai follows a strict law & policies for any business enterprise. Unusually, the UAE commercial companies and UAE federal law dominate any establishment and operation of healthcare business. 

According to UAE law, any non-citizen cannot own or start any pharmaceutical store; the ownership must be under any UAE national citizen. Besides, a UAE citizen can only operate a maximum of two pharmacy stores. 

A non-citizen retail pharmacy shop owner cannot convert the store into a limited liability company (LLC). If he/she wants, then he/she has to make the UAE citizen owner a major shareholder of the pharmacy store. 

Moreover, during the pharmacy license application to DHA, the pharmacy owner must declare whether he/she wants an LLC or sole proprietorship as a business structure. DHA issues the health license for pharmacy under the name of the owner (citizen of UAE), who will be listed as an owner or the holder of the license.  

How Much Does It Cost To Open A Pharmacy In Dubai

Certainly, a large amount of money is required to open a pharmacy business in Dubai. To start a pharmacy, the business owner must consider the following factors:

  • Initial setup fee
  • Pharmacy store space
  • Verify Visa and permits(owners & pharmacy)
  • Legal & consultancy fees 
  • Insurance 
  • Miscellaneous cost 

Although, numerically, the pharmacy store owner would need approximately AED 15000 to 20000 at the initial stage to set up a pharmacy store. 

Depending on the business model, structure, rent, number of employees, services, and location, a UAE-based pharmacy business owner will need between 10,000 and 12,000 AED (1,723–3,268 USD) to apply for a pharmacy license. 

Ensurement Of This Factor Starting A Pharmacy Business In UAE

Before starting a pharmacy business, an entrepreneur needs to ensure the following points: with those, it is possible to operate a pharmacy business in the long run.  

  • Pharmaceuticals Supplier 

Finding a pharmaceutical supplier responsible for supplying medicines, medical equipment, other personal care items, and many more is mandatory. In this initial stage of your pharmacy business, contacting the existing pharmacy store suppliers is better. Hence, get to start your pharmacy operation soon.   

  • Good Number Of Crowd 

Indeed, "customers" are the most crucial part of any customer. If there is a customer, there is business, no customer. It's better to choose a location that is most likely near a residential space, a small clinic, a spot with parking space, a small doctor's chamber, etc. 

  • Competition In The Market 

In recent times, Dubai has gained technologically advanced expertise in every industry. Hence, there is no doubt that there is intense competition in the healthcare sector, too. Therefore, an entrepreneur should do in-depth research before starting a business and know the products in demand. 

  • Initial investment 

Truly, it takes a lot of investment at the initial stage to open a pharmacy in a city like Dubai. The initial investment includes overhead cost, prepayment to rent a space, interior, inventory, staff salary, medical certificates, setup for micro-clinic, suppliers, and many more.

  • Integrate A Automated Pharmacy Management System 

Phamacare-A Pharmacy Management System (PMS) is a software solution designed to streamline the operations of pharmacies and pharmaceutical businesses. It encompasses various functionalities to manage pharmacy inventory, process prescriptions, handle sales transactions, and facilitate overall pharmacy operations efficiently. 

Here are some key features typically found in a pharmacare-Pharmacy Management System:

  • Dynamic Dashboard 
  • Medicine Management system 
  • Inventory Management
  • Pharmacy POS Billing
  • Reporting and Analytics
  • Purchase management system 
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
  • Human Resources management system 
  • Time efficient Search engine
  • Efficient invoice system 
  • Service management system 
  • Employee information management system 

Benefit To Start A Pharmacy In Dubai


Before you concentrate on how to open a pharmacy in Dubai, you must understand the advantages of opening a pharmacy in Dubai. 

Dubai is known as a "City of Gold" because Dubai has made strides and brought technological advancement in multiple industries, manufacturing, trade, and tourism. 

Numerically, based on the present development graph of Dubai, I can say UAE retail pharmacy is on an upward trajectory. Statista forecasted that the compound annual growth rate will rise from $5.193 billion to $9.541 billion by 2030. Thus, a CAGR of 7.9% by 2030 signals a rabid chance of opening new pharmacies. 

Opening a pharmacy store in Dubai can be a rewarding venture. Still, it requires careful planning, compliance with regulations, and a commitment to provide high-quality healthcare services to your customers. It's advisable to consult with legal and regulatory experts familiar with the local requirements to navigate the process smoothly.


In conclusion, before you think of how to open a pharmacy in Dubai, it requires pharmacy business planning, following the regulations and a commitment to delivering quality healthcare services. 

You can establish a successful pharmacy business in Dubai by addressing key aspects such as regulatory requirements, business planning, location selection, inventory management, staffing, customer service, technology integration, marketing, and continuous improvement.

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