Pharmacy Career: how to become a Pharmacist
If you are an entrepreneur seeking an opportunity in the booming retail Industry, you could explore how to become a pharmacist. Careers in pharmacy especially Homeopathy could be a good place to look for growth and profits. Because general medical stores are a competitive business now and with organized retailers like Medplus, Apollo, Wellness Forever, etc. expanding in a big way, there is pressure on price margins with regular retailers. A homeopathy retail store will be a good move as it enjoys relatively better margins and much less competition. You could be a pharmacy graduate (diploma in Pharmacy or D Pharmacy) or any other discipline but necessary experience under a qualified homeopath with a competency certificate is a must to begin:
This blog article explores the avenues to help you start with a homeopathy store in your city. Our experience in starting a retail store is brought to bear in this article and we hope it will help you open one by avoiding common pitfalls.
About Homeopathic Industry in India
Before exploring how to become a pharmacist, let's examine the market in India. India is among the 66 WHO-identified countries where Homeopathy is practiced and its popularity is growing by the day. The market is growing at 25% annually in India and by conservative estimate is around 85 billion in 2014. What makes the Homeopathy market impressive is the fact that 100 million Indians solely depend on Homeopathy. This number is expected to go up to 160 million in a few years with greater awareness and choices made available. This market is currently serviced by 500,000 registered homeopaths and 20,000 more are being added every year. Supporting this ecosystem are 185 homeopathic colleges in the country, and 11,000 homeopathic hospital beds. By becoming a pharmacist you sit on a huge demand generated by this ecosystem.
Industry body ASSOCHAM recently conducted a survey on ‘Homeopathy adoption’ in major cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, and other satellite towns like Chandigarh, Hyderabad, and Lucknow. It randomly surveyed 5000 patients and found that over 55 percent preferred Homeopathy as the treatment is safer and physiologically satisfactory with no side effects. World Health Organization (WHO) has also independently assessed and concluded that homeopathy is the second largest system of medicine in the world. As per WHO the annual turnover of homeopathic medicines accounts for Rs 8,400 crore globally and is expected to touch Rs 52,000 crore by 2017.
How to become a Homeopathy Pharmacist: Step 1 - Understand the Market
Major Homeopathy Brands in India: The top 5 homeopathic brands in the country in terms of visibility and turnover are Homeomart, SBL, Dr.Reckeweg, and Dr.Willmar Schwabe. Other major brands with pan India presence and good market standing are Dr. Vashisht, Adel, Fourrts, BBP, Allen, Bhargava, Doliosis, Wheezal, Haslab, etc..
All the above companies follow General Manufacturing Practices (GMP standards) and a few among them also follow international standards like Pharm Betro and PIC. While most companies follow criteria outlined in the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia (HAB) and Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia India (HPI), some also follow German Pharmacopeia (DAB), European Pharmacopeia (Ph. Eur), United States Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia (HPUS) in their manufacturing guidelines.
Homeopathy Trade Policies and Practices: You need to have a good understanding of the major brands (as stated above) and the general trade practices and norms followed by the Homeopathic companies as a first step towards becoming a pharmacist. This would be relevant if you are dealing directly with companies.
Some essential guidelines are as follows
- The minimum order value (i.e., the order you place with the company at any given point in time) is between Rs.10000 - Rs.30,000. Order to supply turnaround time is anywhere between 15 - 30 days and you will have to make Inventory plans in advance. Freight may be paid by the company based on order value or general understanding.
- Incentives (or discounts ) are provided based on sales performance linked to annual turnover, and quarterly and annual growth achieved for the financial year. Additionally, if you pay upfront money for your order you may be entitled to Cash Discount between 2%-3%. The incentive payment is linked to the timely submission of ‘C’ forms (tax filing statements with tax authorities).
- Trade credit is extended by companies based on your track record. You can enjoy between 30 -45 days credit facility but do not expect this in your first transaction as companies expect you to pay in advance. On the flip side, if you do not pay outstanding bills within the stipulated period, you will be penalized with interest charges @ 12% - 15% on the outstanding amount. In the worst-case scenario, they may blacklist and stop any future dealings.
- Claims regarding expiry, breakage, leakage or evaporation: In the course of business dealing with the companies you may come across products received in damaged or defective conditions. Generally, companies allow such claims provided you intimate them on a timely basis and return the goods to their warehouses promptly. Replacement is done on an MRP to MRP basis with the same product or any other product depending on availability
How to become a Homeopathy Pharmacist: Step 2 - Know the Costs
Basic requirements to set up a Homeopathic shop: To set up and run your shop you will need the following infrastructure: Office equipment including chairs, file cabinets, and desks, a Front counter, storage racks, a cash register, at least one computer with a printer, assorted bottles, boxes, envelopes, etc. for dispensing and shipment. Telephone, Storefront (Name Board will suffice if you do not have the budget for a Glow sign board). You will need to install homeopathic software to manage your billing, inventory, and accounts. All these involve an initial outlay of costs. So you need to make a list of items and arrive at the costs. You can take quotations from a few sources or suppliers and arrive at the approximate costs involved in setting up a shop
How to become a Homeopathy Pharmacist: Step 3 - Know the legal requirements
You will need to have Trade licenses & permits to set up a Homeopathic shop in India:
Trade License: You need to apply for a GST (goods and service tax) registration with the local sales tax authorities. This is handled by the commercial tax department of the local state Government. Many states have implemented online submission and payment of fees for local GST registration. Please visit the state government website to either submit online or get the information from the jurisdictional sales tax office (VAT office) concerning your area. Documents required for VAT registration in the state of Maharashtra for a proprietor of a business.
|Photo of Applicant of Proprietor|
|Photo of Competent Person|
|3||Indian Postal Order for Rs.500|
|4||Constitution Documents (Proprietorship)|
|5||Affidavit of Applicant (Proprietorship)|
|6||Competent person’s Affidavit|
|Competent person’s Appointment letter|
|Competent person’s qualification and experience Certificate|
|Competent person’s Performa|
|Address proof of Competent person|
|7||Blue print of Place of Business & Owner’s Affidavit|
|8||Affidavit of Proprietor for Retail Premises|
|9||Affidavit of Bio Medical waste|
|10||List of Homoeopathic Drugs to be sold|
Shop establishment certificate: Given by the local municipal authorities you will need to follow up locally as there are no standard procedures here
Requirements for VAT registration
|1||Two copies of PAN card of the proprietor|
|2||Two photographs of the proprietor|
|3||Cancelled cheque in support of Bank account proof for account opened in the trade name / business name|
|4||Copy of Document as a Proof for Place of business – (maintenance receipt, telephone Bill or leave & license agreement)|
|5||PTEC number of the proprietor|
|6||Proprietor will have to visit Sales Tax office for signatures before STO|
|7||Any 2 documents as a Proof of Residential Address of the proprietor e.g. Society Receipt, Electricity bill, passport, driving license, ration card etc.|
|8||Form 105 to be submitted to authorise a manager.|
|9||If application is on account of voluntary registration scheme then Demand draft of Rs. 25000/- & Rs. 5025/- in favour of 'Bank of Maharashtra- A/c MVAT'.|
|10||You need to provide us name and VAT regn no of the existing dealer who will sign on your form for introduction.|
|11||Applications forms duly signed by the proprietor or manager as the case may be.|
Drug License: You need to obtain a Homeopathic retail license issued by the department of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Unnani, Siddha, and Homeopathy) in your state. The following documents are expected by the Ayush dept in Karnataka for scrutiny to apply for a retail license.
How to become a Homeopathy Pharmacist: Step 4 - Make a local Business plan
Business Plan Essentials to set up a Homeopathic Shop – Have a plan with a schedule of all essential activities to make your shop run successfully. E.g., Completing paperwork with Govt agencies, finding a suitable location for your shop, negotiating for rentals, opening a bank account, promoting your shop locally, identifying suitable suppliers for Hardware, Software, etc, Financing your Business etc.
- If you are a Homeopath it is ideal for you to extend your practice with a Homeopathic pharmacy shop. If you do not then identify a suitable homeopath in your locality or city who is willing to partner with you. This is not essential but in our experience, a clinic attached to a Homeopathic pharmacy does better Business than standalone shops.
- You will need to maintain an essential inventory of all categories of Homeopathic products. This includes Dilutions, Mother Tinctures, Triaturations, BioChemics, Biocombinations, and Speciality products.
- Your Pharmacy's target market may consist of different groups, in-house prescriptions, local customers or walk-ins, local doctor's prescriptions, telephone inquiries, and mail-order customers.
- There is no standard Homeopathic software available in the market. Good software meant for the homeopathic industry is essential for successful operation. Do not buy any software that is meant for allopathic medical shops.
- Create awareness locally through Newspaper inserts, community forums, and local directory pages.
- Franchisee route: This is an ideal option if you want a template model wherein the franchiser provides you with set-up support in the form of Inventory, Software, Shop collaterals, etc on an upfront license fee plus a revenue-sharing basis. Homeomart is currently the only known entity that offers homeopathy pharmacy franchisee opportunities for potential entrepreneurs. For more details, you may contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org