How to Get a Pharmacy License in Dubai: Your 2023 Guide 

Wondering to step into the medical industry, one of the world’s most recession-proof sectors, with a Pharmacy license in Dubai, but don’t know how? We’ve got you. With this blog, our medical business advisors in UAE will help you understand the requirements and steps to get a Pharmacy License in Dubai and start a pharmacy in Dubai.

Is opening a pharmacy in Dubai a good idea? 

You may strike gold with any business that belongs to the medical industry in the city, which crawls with people from about 190 different nationalities. The Emirate has undergone noteworthy urban development and population growth in recent years, which has led to an increased demand for quality healthcare services. This demand is not only from residents but also from medical tourists who trust the world-class hospitals and specialized centres in Dubai for their treatments which makes Dubai what it is today – A major epicentre for the international healthcare sector, primed not only to serve the local but global market. Boasting high-tech medical infrastructure and state-of-the-art healthcare facilities, Dubai offers not just hospitals and private medical clinics in abundance but also hundreds of pharmacies to ensure immediate access to recommended medicines and a wide range of quality healthcare products. Without a doubt, opening a pharmacy in Dubai is one of the most profitable businesses in the UAE. 

What are my options to start a Pharmacy in Dubai?

A pharmacist is accountable for giving medications to the visitors as per the doctors’ prescriptions they are carrying and offering guidance on how to use them safely in an easy-to-understand way. They might also monitor the medications prescribed to their patients and do health and wellness checks. In Dubai, there are two ways to set your feet in the business of medicines – Either you can set up a pharmacy in Dubai or you can buy a pharmacy which is already serving. For each alternative, you are required to obtain two licenses – a trade license from DED and a pharmacist license from the DHA – and follow certain regulations and requirements such as meeting specific standards for the storage and handling of medicines. You don’t necessarily have to hold a degree in Pharmacy to open a pharmacy in Dubai, however, it is good for you if you have one. In addition, you have to pass a Prometric test that is conducted as a requisite for the license issuance which is mandatory to practice as a pharmacist in Dubai, whether in your own pharmacy or others’. 

What are the key requirements to start a Pharmacy in Dubai? 

  • Individuals and entities, whether semi-governmental, private health establishments or free zone facilities, intended to open a pharmacy in Dubai must obtain a license from the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) in line with applicable local and federal laws. Dubai Healthcare City (DHCC) is exempt from this requirement though. 
  • A “Community/Retail Pharmacy” license can be applied by retail standalone pharmacies situated on street level or the ground floor or situated in a larger complex such as a commercial centre or shopping mall may request  
  • Hospitals with an intention to open an in-house pharmacy are required to apply for a separate DHA “Hospital pharmacy” license along with the hospital license. 
  • Outpatient clinics may apply to obtain a DHA “Ambulatory pharmacy” license. 
  • Day surgical centres class C are allowed to add the “Inpatient pharmacy” service, which doesn’t need its own DHA license. A pharmacist with a license will provide the service. 
  • The candidate must submit an application to HRS via SHERYAN (Dubai Health Licensing Online System) and include all required documentation, including but not limited to: 
    • A copy of the land plot number-specific Land Registration Certificate provided by Dubai Municipality (DM). 
    • Schematic design drawings in AutoCAD format displaying the suggested floor plan with dimensions and labels for each room and area. 
    • Guidelines for Pharmacists Page 18 of 100 Not at all. HRS/HPSD/PG/01/2021 
    • A proposal letter or business plan outlining the pharmacy’s operational plan. 
    • A trade name reservation from Dubai’s Department of Economic Development (DED) or a comparable licensing body (when applicable). 
    • A photocopy of the owner’s or partners’ passports showing their resident alien status (when applicable). 
  • Upon receipt of a completed file and the applicable fee, HRS will conduct a detailed review of the submitted material to determine suitability for further processing. 
  • Upon approval of the application, the facility will receive an inactive facility license which will be valid for a period of one (1) year (until the final approval is granted), this pending approval is necessary to obtain the trade license by the DED or equivalent licensing authorities. 

What is the process of licence issuance? 

The process of obtaining a pharmacist license in Dubai completes in two phases – License Registration and License Issuance – and can be broken down into 8 key steps mentioned below: 

Phase 1: Registration Request 

Step 1. Application Submission: Complete the license application form and send it to the Health Regulation Department (HRD). The application consists of: 

  • Submission of the HRD e-licensing service’s new health facility license application form 
  • The broad area suggested, together with the property plot number 
  • Schematic Design (SD) displaying the planned floor plans with numbers and labels for each room as well as a basic cross-section of the building 

Step 2. Application Review: After receiving the application, the HRD will thoroughly analyze the materials presented to decide whether they are suitable for further processing. Following that, HRD will give you initial permission

Step 3. Initial Approval Issuance: The pharmacy must submit this letter to complete the licensing process before a trade license can be issued by regional authorities, such as the Department of Economic Development (DED) in Dubai or other comparable licensing organizations (i.e. free zones authorities). To complete the pharmacy’s licensing requirements, this letter will be necessary. 

Step 4. Application Rejection (In Case): If the application is declined, a thorough description of the faults will be provided for corrective action to the applicant. They are required to submit the application again along with the necessary costs.  

Phase 2: License Issuance Request 

Step 1: Pharmacy Setup: The applicant must finish the pharmacy setup first to proceed with the licencing process. They are required to ensure that the provided infrastructure is as per the DHA pharmacy design guidelines and in line with the services offered by the pharmacy. 

Step 2: Inspection Request: then submit an online request for a final inspection. Accordingly, the Drug control section will conduct an onsite pre-operational assessment (Final inspection), or remote-virtual inspection. 

Step 3: Appointment of Pharmacist: The applicant is required to appoint an in-charge pharmacist who is licensed by DHA or holds a valid eligibility letter granted by DHA. 

Step 4: Report Issuance: Within five (5) business days, a report outlining suggestions will be produced, the license will be activated, and the pharmacy management will have to implement these recommendations ahead of the next inspection by the Drug Control Section team. The application will be refused in non-compliant situations, and a report will be published online within five (5) working days. The facility management must implement all of the report’s suggestions and make a fresh request for a final inspection. 

For specific details and expert assistance, you may call our Pharmacy setup experts in Dubai at +971 56 501 4164 . We cannot just register you for the DHA exam as a pharmacist and get you the exam date but also register your pharmacy to obtain a license from DHA. 

What information does the Pharmacy license in Dubai feature? 

The license dispensed by HRS to the pharmacy contains – the name and address of the pharmacy, the DED license number and its validity and the name of the pharmacist in charge. 

What are the space requirements to open a Pharmacy in Dubai? 

Pharmacy in Dubai can mainly be of 4 types and each category has different requirements in terms of space. Refer to the table drawn below to determine the area conditions for your Pharmacy in Dubai: 

 Pharmacy Category Minimum Space Requirements 
1Community/Retail Pharmacy 30 m2 
2Hospital Pharmacy 30 m2 
3Ambulatory care pharmacy 25 m2
4Inpatient Pharmacy15 m2 

Common Requirement: The minimum ceiling height for each category should not be less than 2.70 mt. (8 feet 8 inches). 

What are the minimum licensing requirements for a 24-hours Pharmacy service? 

  • A full-time pharmacist and up to three part-time pharmacists who are all DHA-licensed. 
  • Signage indicating clearly to people that the facility is open 24/7. 

What are the minimum licensing requirements for pharmacies incorporating clinic services “Walk-in Clinic”? 

  • As an outpatient clinic, the facility must submit an application for a new facility license. 
  • The clinic may include a complete outpatient setup, including but not limited to an examination bed, doctor’s office, sterilizing equipment, medical waste disposal, laundry, etc., or it may only have one large room to offer the necessary clinical services. Clinic area requirements for a single room setup; (minimum 18 m2) with easy access and no impediments or hurdles 
  • Internal medicine, family medicine, and general practice are possible clinic specialities to include 
  • There must be an obvious display board indicating that the pharmacy offers a “Walk-in Clinic.” 
  • The hours of operation must be the same for both the pharmacy and clinic. 

How can I renew my Pharmacy license in Dubai? 

The pharmacy license in general comes with 1-year validity. The document must be renewed in accordance with all DHA criteria. For your Dubai Pharmacy license renewal, you must follow the aforementioned steps: 

  • Submit an online application complete with an accreditation certificate copy (if applicable) and a valid trade copy through SHERYAN to HRS at least three (3) months prior to the expiry date in line with the HRS requirements for license renewal. 
  • Make the renewal fee payment 
  • If approved, the DHA pharmacy license will be renewed (calculated from the expiry date) for another year. 

How can I cancel my Pharmacy license in Dubai if I need to? 

The procedure for cancelling a pharmacy license is the same as for renewing one. For the pharmacy license to be revoked, the pharmacy owner or delegated healthcare facility representatives must submit an application to HRS via SHERYAN. Most importantly, the applicant intended to cancel their pharmacy licence must adhere to DHA guidelines while following the licence cancellation steps mentioned below: 

  • Go to the SHERYAN portal and fill and submit an online application to HRS attached with the required documents such as an Undertaking Letter (If requested)  
  • Pay the cancellation fees and clear all the outstanding professional and facility fines (if applicable). Also withdraw open appeals, if any and cancel all professional licenses (except the medical director). 
  • Allow some time for DHA to review the request made 
  • If approved, your pharmacy license will be cancelled 

What are the documents required to get a Pharmacy license in Dubai? 

Dubai pharmacy license documentation requirements include: 

  • properly completed application 
  • preliminary clearance for the pharmacy’s location and the tenancy agreement 
  • location blueprints with approved architectural planning 
  • copies of your passport, business license, and prescription drug license 
  • a list of all your pharmacy’s staff and their certificates 

Who can help me set up a Pharmacy in Dubai? 

Truth be told – Dubai has no dearth of business setup consultants. However, finding the right business advisor who can go the extra mile to help you set up a pharmacy in Dubai is quite tricky. A free consultancy with one of the most experienced business setup firms in Dubai such as Adam Global can help though. Click here to book one with one of the best business advisors in Dubai, known for serving the industry for two decades or so as a one-stop-shop for corporate services in UAE. We take pride in the successful execution of dozens of medical clinics, dental clinic setups and other private healthcare business setups in Dubai and other parts of the UAE and it would be a pleasure working with you as well. Let’s meet over a cup of coffee or two and take the first step towards accomplishing the goal of setting up a pharmacy in Dubai

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