Pharmacies in India


At last count there were more than 800,000 pharmacies in India. Yes, 800,000. That's a lot of pharmacies!!! An average pharmacy has about 150 sq. ft. of retail space and does an average business volume of $25,000 per year. Enclosed are some pictures of a typical pharmacy in India.

I am going to share a dirty secret with you. Not all pharmacies in India have a pharmacist. As a matter of fact majority of the pharmacies have a pharmacist only in name. The medication is dispensed by the owner (who does it out of virtue or experience) or by another person at the store who has experience dealing with pharmaceutical products. But you would ask that isn't it a law for a pharmacy to have a pharmacist?

Absolutely, yes. By law every pharmacy must have a full time pharmacist. But how does the FDA implement this when there are more than 800,000 pharmacies. It is impossible for the FDA to monitor and take action against all these pharmacies all the time. The good pharmacies in India all follow the letter of the law. The problem is with the average pharmacies who do not want to or are not able to comply with all the laws due to their low business volume.

The problem is that a few of these pharmacies are willing to cut corners to make money. It is also heard that a few of these pharmacies are selling products to US customers via their own or 3rd party websites and call centers. The only thing we can recommend here is caveat emptor; buyer beware.

You need to do your due diligence before you decide to buy from a pharmacy based in India or even accept India product from your Canadian mail order pharmacy. The following is what you should ask from your pharmacy or supplier:

  1. Business Name and business address of India pharmacy
  2. Name of the pharmacist
  3. Pharmacy license copy
  4. Pharmacist license copy
  5. Export certificate
  6. PAN Number (Indian Income Tax number)
  7. Exact name and if possible exact picture of the products that they dispense
  8. Photograph of the pharmacy and the pharmacist

The above will give you an idea about whether the pharmacy is legitimate and does clean business. Remember most pharmacies in India are doing good, clean and honest business. But there are a few bad apples, as with anything, and it is upto you, the consumer to separate the wheat from the chaff.