Building a Drugstore: Design and Layout Standards to Follow

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The pharmaceutical industry is booming today, thanks to the pandemic. And even without a health crisis, drugstores aren’t likely to decline because health issues will always be rampant among the public. It’s a sad reality, but at least there’s an industry dedicated to helping them.

If you just ventured into the pharmaceutical industry, you must remember some key points while building your first drugstore. Though you can be creative with its design, the final look should follow industry standards. You’d notice that most drugstores essentially have the same layout. Each uses shelves, creates aisles, and places the counter far away from the entrance.

Design and layout standards exist to protect certain products, like medications. Medications are sensitive to changing temperatures and moisture. Hence, your facility should consistently provide the right conditions for those products. Any small mistake could cost you the potency of your medications.

That said, here are the requirements you must follow as you design your new drugstore:

1. Temperature

Medications require room temperature, defined as between 68° and 77° Fahrenheit. They can also be exposed to temporary “excursion” temperatures, ranging from 59° to 86° Fahrenheit. Going above or below this range can significantly affect the medications. Diazepam, for example, loses 25% of its potency if stored above 98° Fahrenheit. Lorazepam, if stored at the same temperature, would lose up to 75% of its potency.

Some medications strictly require refrigeration. Common ones are:

  • Eye and ear drops (e.g., AzaSite, chloramphenicol, latanoprost)
  • Reconstituted antibiotics (e.g., amoxicillin, augmentin, erythromycin)
  • Tablets (e.g., ritonavir, alkeran, leukeran)
  • Injections (e.g., all insulin, vaccines, botox)
  • Others (e.g., nebulizer solutions, epoprostenol)

Factors that affect a medication’s temperature are hot weather, traveling, delivery, and the pharmacy or drugstore itself. If your drugstore loses power for a few hours, for instance, it can already decrease the potency of your medications.

Hence, ensure that your drugstore’s air conditioning units are always working. Set the thermostats within the recommended temperatures. Keep humidity in check as well. Use dehumidifiers and prevent leaks from roof damage or appliance issues. If a surface condenses due to cold temperature, increase the thermostat in that area.

2. Storage

Medications must be stored in a cool, dry place. Most people think this is a bathroom or kitchen cabinet, but those are actually the opposite. Bathrooms and kitchens are prone to moisture, making their storage spaces humid as well.

Drugstores, pharmacies, and other wellness facilities use medical carts to store their medications safely. These are specialized storage units that are safe for transporting so that the medicines don’t have to be exposed to changing temperatures and humidity. They can also be customized according to a medication’s storage requirements.

pharmacist holding an ointment

3. Efficient Traffic

Now that we’re observing social distancing, maintaining efficient traffic in commercial establishments is more important than ever. A drugstore is an essential business, so the health protocols exempt it from temporary closures. You and your staff will keep seeing walk-in customers despite the crisis.

Ensure that your workstations won’t cause your staff to bump into each other when they walk. See that the lines to the register can allow social distancing. Increase the width of the aisles to let customers stay at least six feet apart. If you provide pushcarts, the wide aisle space will be useful as well.

The medications should go in and out of the dispensary as quickly as possible. No staff should step over each other or go through mazes just to retrieve a product. If you lack the facility for smooth dispensary traffic, consider using robots as your inventory assistants. Some advanced pharmacies and drugstores do this to save space and increase efficiency.

4. Creative Displays

Since drugstores also sell cosmetics and personal care products, the manufacturers of those products would want to market their brand in your drugstore. Give them a space for creative displays, like pedestals with light boxes, TV screens, or customized shelving units. As long as their aesthetic equipment won’t impede the traffic, they should be allowed.

Creative displays will also help increase foot traffic in your drugstore. Despite the growing popularity of online shopping, nothing will match the in-store experience. So make the most out of your creative displays to attract plenty of customers. Buying cosmetics and other non-medication products from a drugstore can induce a sense of normalcy. And we could all use that given the persistent COVID-19 virus.

Take note of these pointers as you design and build your first drugstore. In turn, your business will stand out in its location, and people will discover a new, dependable drugstore. Ensure that you’ve settled all requirements and followed building codes to avoid legal issues.

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