The new facility must be able to meet the needs of a specific population and area, thereby creating the charitable pharmacy’s own unique market. Anticipate growth. Once clinics, hospitals, and patients discover the value of a charitable pharmacy, numbers of new patients and prescriptions will accelerate rapidly. If possible, build this growth into your budget (for staffing as well as purchasing) and space.

Dedicate space for:

TIP: Think where you hope to be in 5 or 10 years. Plan for additional inventory, staff, volunteers, and services. WMDP started with 1,000 square feet for their mail order charity pharmacy. Ten years later, in 2018, they will move to a 4,000 square feet facility to relieve a very cramped space. What do you plan to add in the future? Who will be helping you?

  • Pharmacy 
    • Inventory
    • Records: prescription files, patient files, pharmacy records
    • Bulk supplies: vials, labels, office supplies
    • Med destruction
    • Patient Education materials
  • Enrollment area: enrollment may take 30-60 minutes for a new patient, 10-15 minutes for re-enrollment
  • Dispensing and counselling area: cash register, will call space, etc.
  • Extended services: MTM, multi-language counselling, device use, immunizations, etc.
    • Space to allow privacy and meet HIPAA regulations
    • Area for students and/or volunteers
    • Office
  • Staffeating and break area separate from the medication storage area
  • For mail-order, shipping area: both for arrival of donations and for outgoing prescriptions
  • Waiting arealarge enough to accommodate population:
    • Stand-alone pharmacy – sitting and roaming aisles
    • Shared space if in a clinic, hospital or other shared location

A suggested starting size is 1,000 square feet, designing up or down depending on final size of facility. Here are some examples of the square feet needed compared to the number of prescriptions filled used by St. Thomas Health in Tennessee:

  1. Busy hospital outpatient pharmacy that provides employee prescriptions, retail and discharge prescriptions, and Dispensary of Hope medications. Metrics: 1,507 square feet to fill 6,786 prescriptions during Sept 2017
  2. Hospital outpatient pharmacy that solely provides prescriptions for indigent patients. Metrics: 808 square feet to fill 3,368 prescriptions during Sept 2017
  3. Pharmacy within a clinic that provides employee prescriptions for the hospital nearby, retail prescriptions for the clinic, and Dispensary of Hope prescriptions. Metrics: 1,200 square feet to fill 3,643 prescriptions during Sept 2017
  4. Pharmacy within a rural clinic that provides prescriptions for the hospital nearby, retail prescriptions for the behavioral health clinic, and Dispensary of Hope prescriptions. 559 square feet to fill 115 prescriptions during Sept 2017 (opened August 2017)

Example layout of pharmacy

STH River Park Plaza Pharmacy