Pharmacy Business in the UAE

by Zaara 03, Jun 2019

The United Arab Emirates have opened its arms to various industries. The region has always been a dominating player when it comes to oil industries. Still, with the passing time, it is seen that the non-oil sectors are contributing equally towards the growth and development of the nation. One such sector turns out to be the health care sector, which gives different businesspersons and foreign investors opportunities to invest and uplift their business targeting hospitals, pharmacies, private clinics, etc. Towards the end of this write-up, you will hold a clear idea and complete information regarding setting up a pharmacy business in the UAE. Let’s start.

Healthcare Sector in the UAE

When it comes to business setup in Dubai, the healthcare sector is no longer on the waiting list. The healthcare industry has been expanding drastically and is expected to be a market of 73.52 billion AED in 2020 and 101.94 billion AED in 2025. By this, we can predict that the sector is going to expand at a drastic rate, which will ultimately give a boost to the pharmacy sector as well. We can predict that the number of pharmacies will exponentially increase in the future. So, if you plan to set up a Pharmacy business, the UAE is the right target market. However, before starting a pharmacy business, you need to take care of certain essentials. Let’s have a look.

Essentials Required to Set Up a Pharmacy in the UAE

Before you initiate the process of setting up a pharmacy in the UAE, you need to take care of certain essentials, which include the following:

  1. Location
  2. Competitors in the market
  3. Plan regarding the layout and structure of the pharmacy
  4. Local Sponsor to avail a trading license
  5. Initial setup cost would range in between USD 30,000-150000
  6. According to WHO, there should be a minimum count of 160 clients in the targeted area

Process of Setting up Pharmacy Business in the UAE

To start a pharmacy in the UAE, certain initial steps must be followed to complete the company registration process.

For Initial Approval –

  1. Apply to the Health Regulation Department (HRD)
  2. Get approval from Dubai Municipality for commercial use of the premises selected for pharmacy business
  3. Once the HRD reviews the documents, an initial approval letter is issued. This process will take 8-10 days
  4. Next, get an approval letter to initiate the process of obtaining a trade license from the DED Dubai

For Final Approval

  1. Place an online request to make the needed payment
  2. HRD will conduct an on-site assessment
  3. If the DHA requirements and recommendations are met, you will receive the license. This process will take 15-20 days

The license will be valid for a year, and it includes the license number, name and address of the pharmacy and its validity period.

The documents required as mentioned in the above steps are –

  • Duly filled application form
  • Preliminary approval for pharmacy premises along with tenancy contract
  • Blueprints of location with certified architectural planning
  • Copy of location license, passport and pharma license
  • Certificated and list of the employees in your pharmacy company

Note: To start a pharmacy in the UAE, you need two licenses:

  1. A License issued by the Dubai Economic Development
  2. A license issued by Dubai Health Authority

Once you complete the entire registration process, you are eligible enough to open a pharmacy business in the UAE. The next thing that being a business owner you should be knowing is the benefits you will derive after investing in the pharmacy business.

Benefits of Setting up a Pharmacy in the UAE

  • UAE provides multiple options like MainlandFree Zone, and Offshore to start a business. You can choose one according to your needs
  • The healthcare sector is one of the major sectors, which is expected to boost in the upcoming years
  • It has got robust transportation and logistics facilities that help in the movement of goods
  • Great networking system with the neighbouring countries

Now, you should be aware that setting up a business is a complex process. Proper roadmap and guidance are required from the initial stage. At this point, subject matter experts or professional exports dealing with business incorporation processes can serve you better. Looking for a helping hand? Your guide is just below.

Commitbiz | Your Business Setup Guide

Commitbiz has been serving clients worldwide to incorporate their businesses, and we have been dealing with clients dealing in different industries. We stand as one of the best business consultants in the UAE as our business experts are well experienced and can provide custom solutions according to your business needs. If you like to have a word, do contact us- we’d be glad to assist.


What is a DHA license?

This license is issued to healthcare professionals who have passed the DHA exam and wish to pursue their career in the healthcare industry

What is the cost of opening a pharmaceutical company in UAE?

It depends on the location you want to start, your needs, establishment idea etc. In general, it will cost somewhere around 450000 AED to 750000 AED

How many approvals do I need to get to open a pharma company in UAE?

You would need two approvals, namely preliminary approval and final approval.

Do I need to go through any inspection to start a pharma company in Dubai?

Yes, the Drug Control Department of Dubai will inspect your establishment.

Can I start a pharma manufacturing company in Dubai mainland?

Yes, you can start after obtaining an industrial license and getting approval from the Ministry of Health.