Open Access Open Badges Research article

Financial perspective of private pharmacies in Tehran (Iran); is it a lucrative business?

Khosro Keshavarz1, Abbas Kebriaeezadeh1*, Amir Hashemi Meshkini1, Shekoufeh Nikfar12, Iman Mirian3 and Hasan Khoonsari4

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Pharmacoeconomics and Pharmaceutical administration, Faculty of pharmacy, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

2 Food & Drug Laboratory Research Center, Food & Drug Organization, Ministry of Health & Medical Education, Tehran, Iran

3 Department of Public Health, Faculty of Public Health, Hormozqan University of Medical Sciences, Bandar abbas, Iran

4 Department of Clinical Pharmacy, Faculty of Pharmacy, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

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DARU Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences 2012, 20:62  doi:10.1186/2008-2231-20-62

Published: 22 October 2012


Background and purpose of the study

Pharmacies as direct providers of medicine and pharmaceutical services to patients have an important role in the health status of a society. The assessment of their financial situations by healthcare policy makers is necessary to prevent any negative effects on population's health. In this study we aim to analyze the financial status of pharmacies in Tehran, Iran.


This study is a cross-sectional study based on a survey. Two-hundred and eighty-eight private community daytime pharmacies in Tehran were selected by random sampling. We used two questionnaires to collect data regarding cost, expense and income factors of private pharmacies and the significance of each of them from these selected pharmacies. The data was collected in 2011 from Tehran pharmacies. Profitability of pharmacies in Tehran, Iran was calculated in its current situation and then estimated for three defined scenarios: 1. The dispensing fee is omitted (ceteris paribus), 2. Pharmacies are prohibited from selling hygienic & cosmetic products (ceteris paribus), 3. Scenarios 1 and 2 together (ceteris paribus). These data were analyzed by using SPSS and descriptive-analytic statistics.


About 68% of interviewees responded to our questionnaires. Our analysis indicated that the average annual costs (and expenses), income and profits of pharmacies are 73,181; 106,301; and 33,120 United States Dollar (USD), respectively. The analysis indicated that omission of dispensing fee (scenario 1) and prohibition of pharmacies from selling hygienic & cosmetic products (scenario 2) would decrease income of pharmacies to 18438 and 14034 USD/year, respectively. According to respondents, the cost (or expense) of properties and buildings, energy, taxes, delays in reimbursement by insurance companies, and renting the place of pharmacy could be considered as cost factors and prescription medicines, OTC medicines, dispensing fees, hygienic & cosmetic products, and long-term payment to pharmaceutical distribution companies as income factors, which have significant effects on a pharmacy's economy.

Major conclusions

According to the results of this study, regarding the pharmacies' cost (and expenses) and incomes, the omission of dispensing fees for prescriptions has considerable negative effects on the profitability of pharmacies and likely on society's health.

Pharmacy; Income; Cost and expense; Profitability; Dispensing fee; Iran