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What is a Drug License?

Drugs helps in curing diseases which directly ensure the well-being of human being. For forming medicines, drugs are used in a medically prescribed ratio. Hence, standards are made by the government for using the drugs in the correct amount so that it does not harm the body by overdose. In India, the business which deals in drugs, medicines, or cosmetics must mandatorily obtain Drug License from the appropriate authority.

As per the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, a Drug License is granted either by the Central or State Drug Standard Control Organization. Obtaining Drug License Registration is mandatory before starting any business dealing in drugs, whether it is Ayurvedic Medicine, Allopathic Drugs, Homeopathy or Unani, to manufacture, distribute or sell the drugs.

If in case a business has an operating unit in two states or more states, it has to obtain a drug license for each state in which the business is being carried on. Registration for Drug license is location-specific. It means if the drugs are stocked or sold for sale and distribution at more than one place, then the application shall be made to every state, and license shall be issued, regarding each such place except for migrant vendors.

Who can issue Drug License?

Drug license acts as an authority given by the Government of India to the owner of the drugstore or pharmacy. The Drugs and the Cosmetics Act, 1940, is the governing force for the issuance of Drug License in India. This act provides the provisions for carrying out the business of medicines, drugs, or cosmetics in India.

In India, the Drug license is granted by the following listed authorities:

  • State Drugs Standard Control Organization (SDSCO): As per the provisions of Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, the sales, distribution, and manufacture of drugs are regulated by the state authorities.
  • Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO): According to the Drugs and Cosmetics Act of 1940, the CDSCO is responsible for approving the newly made drugs and clinical trials of the said drugs. It also controls the quality of the drugs imported and coordinates with the SDSCO.

What are the Types of Drug License issued India?

Following are the different types of licenses issued depending upon the type of business for which the license is obtained:

  • Manufacturing Drug License: All the manufacturers dealing with ayurvedic, allopathic, cosmetics, or any other medications or drugs, as mentioned under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, are required to obtain Manufacturing Drug License. This is the state license that is granted by the respective state government where the unit is located.
  • Loan Drug License: The Drug Manufacturer who do not possess any land on his own, but is willing to manufacture drugs by using his brand name on the land to which license is already granted.
  • Import Drug License: Any dealer who is importing the products for manufacturing drugs or is involved in the business of importing drugs in India shall mandatorily obtain this specific license.
  • Multi Drug License: Multi Drug License is obtained by entities operating in more than one state or having multiple units.
  • Sale Drug License: Sale drug license is obtained by entities engaged in either retail or wholesale business for the sale or distribution of drugs in India.
  • Wholesale Drug License: Wholesalers who are engaged in the business of pharmaceuticals shall mandatorily acquire wholesale drug license from the CDSCO (Central Drugs Standard Control Organization). This license prescribes certain minimum conditions on the person applying for it. The following listed are those conditions:
  1. Degree and diploma in pharmacy
  2. Minimum one-year experience required in Drug dealing
  • Retail Drug License: This license is acquired by the retailers engaged in either in pharmaceuticals business, or stand-alone pharmacists, etc. The same is acquired by applying to the State Pharmacy Council.

What is the difference between a Drugstore and Pharmacy?


Pharmacy or Dispensary

A Retail store where both the prescriptive and non-prescriptive drugs are sold together with other first aid and similar items. 

A place where only prescriptive drugs are dispensed or provided

These drugstores earn a majority share of their revenue by way of the products, which includes both health and beauty products. 

In this case, prescribed medicines act as the only source of income for individuals.


What are Key Requirements for obtaining Drug License Registration in India?

The following are the essential key factors to be taken into consideration while applying for Drug License:

  • Premise Area: A minimum area of 10 sq meters is needed for setting up a retail pharmacy or a medical shop. However, in the case of Retail cum wholesale Drug business, the required minimum area shall increase to 15 sq meters.
  • Storage Facility: Proper storage facilities must be ensured by implementing the refrigerator, cold storage facility, or other similar places for the storage of drugs and medicines as they shall be restored in cool places.
  • Technical and Expert Staff: A Retail pharmacy must have an experienced, and technical staff with in-depth knowledge of the same. A qualified pharmacist is a must for obtaining a Drug License. However, in the case of Wholesale Drug License, the said staff must either be a graduate with minimum one-year experience or an undergraduate having four years’ experience.
  • Inspection by the Drug Inspector: Before the issuance of a Drug License, the Drug Inspector who is having jurisdiction of the area will visit the premises for which the drug license has been applied and will verify all the particulars furnished with the application. If in case needed, he may also take the premise’s measurement, and may also interview the competent person.

What are the Different Forms of Drug License?

The different forms needed for obtaining various types of Drug License is mentioned below:


Types of Drugs


Allopathic Drugs


Restricted Allopathic Drugs


Wholesale of Allopathic Medicines


Retail of Homoeopathic Medicines  


Allopathic drugs mentioned in the Schedule C & C (1)


 Wholesale of Allopathic Medicines specified in the Schedule C & C (1)


 Retail sale of the Restricted Allopathic Medicines specified in the Schedule C (I)


Retail Sale of Drugs specified in the Schedule ‘X.’  


Wholesale of Drugs Specified in the Schedule ‘X.’  


What are the Documents Required to Obtain Drug License in India?

The documents needed to obtain Drug License in India are explained below:

  • A duly signed application form which has already been filed.
  • A copy of the Challan as a proof of depositing the prescribed fee.
  • Identity proof in the form of PAN Card, Driving License, Voter ID, Passport, etc. in case the applicant is a proprietor/ partner/ director.
  • If in case the applicant is a partnership firm, the copy of Partnership Deed.
  • Constitution of Firm (MOA/AOA) and the Certificate of Incorporation in the case of a Private/Public/OPC.
  • A copy of the Site Plan and key plan of the premises.
  • CTC of the Board Resolution for authorizing the company to obtain the license.
  • Appointment letter of the person being authorized by the company.
  • A copy of the Property paper (In the case of owned property).
  • A copy of the Rent agreement or Lease Deed (In the case of rented property).
  • Proof of availability of storage like the cold storage, refrigerator, etc. in the form invoices.
  • Affidavit concerning the compliance of MPD 2021 (if the said premise is located in a DDA residential flat/ building or plot).

The following listed are the additional documents needed in the case of the Retail Sale Registered Pharmacist:

  • Proof of Qualification, i.e., Certificate of Final degree or the Provisional Certificate along with mark sheets
  • Registration of the Delhi Pharmacy Council
  • A copy of the Bio-data and the Appointment Letter 

The following listed are the additional documents needed in the case of the Wholesale License Competent Person:

  • Proof of Qualification, i.e., Certificate of Final degree or the Provisional Certificate along with mark sheets
  • A copy of the Bio-data and the Appointment Letter 
  • A copy of the Experience Certificate of minimum one year

What are the Steps for Getting the Drug License in India?

The steps involved in obtaining the Drug License in India are listed below:

  • Obtain Login Credentials: The first and foremost step for the applicant is to obtain User ID and Password by giving a request letter in person along with the firm's details.
  • Prepare Documents: The next step in getting a drug License is the preparation of documents which are comprised of both Key Plan and Site Plan, along with various affidavits and declarations specified by law.
  • Filling of Application: Nowadays, the application of obtaining Drug License is filed online, including the payment of the prescribed government fee. All the documents required must be scanned in 100 DPI, black and white, and uploaded at the time of filing the Drug License application by using provided login details.
  • Visit by the Drug Inspector: Once the application for issuance of Drug License is filed online, the same is then marked for inspection. The Drug Inspector personally visits the concerned shop to verify the documents filed, and also to check the correctness of the information.
  • Issuance of License: After the completion of Inspection and verification of all the documents and information filed, and also the competent person clears the personal interview in a case called for, the Controller of Drugs, then issues the Drug License. It usually takes around 45 to 50 working days for the issuance of a Drug License.

What is the Time Frame for obtaining Drug License?

As per a recent report published in "The Times of India," the Drug Regulatory Authority has made it compulsory for all its officials to attend as well as issue all the licenses, whether wholesale or retail, in a time frame of 30 days, if all the required eligibility criteria are fulfilled. The main intention is to make the whole process of obtaining drug license transparent and user-friendly.

Package Inclusions

  • Application Drafting
  • Review about the Business
  • Application filing
  • End to end follow-up with Department
  • License

FAQs for Drug License

Drug license is the permission granted by the government to deal with drugs. It is a right to do a business involved in wholesale, manufacturing, retail, and distribution of the pharmaceuticals.

The state government has the authority to grant the drug license. In order to obtain a drug license for a medical or a chemist shop, the owner must have a minimum area of 10sq.m. Air Conditioners and Refrigerators are installed to store medicines. Qualified personnel must be hired as staff at the shop.

For renewal of the Drug License, the applicant is needed to fill out an application form and provide all the required documents to be submitted with the form. After filing the application form, the same is required to be submitted to the drug control department together with fees. After verifying and examining the documents, a fresh certificate shall be issued by the authorities.

A pharmacist cannot open and run a clinic to diagnose disease and recommend medicines. The same had been notified and declared by the Pharmacy council of India. Also, there is no provision made in the Pharmacy practice regulation for the pharmacist to practice pharmacy.

A licensed drug is a drug that goes through a strictly regulated process. It includes lab researches and trial tests. Once it is done with all the tests and trials, it shall be issued a license.

In order to manufacture drugs, a drug manufacturing license is needed as per the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940. The applicant can apply online for the same to the state drugs controller cum licensing authority.

In order to obtain a Drug Distribution Licence, an Application 19 is required to be submitted with the prescribed documents such as the Identity Proof, Ownership Documents of the Premises, Affidavit of Registered Pharmacist, etc.

Opening an Independent Pharmacy needs high-level investments. As various investments in the form of furniture and fitting, legal paperwork, other investments will cost an individual around 60000 approx.

The drugs are classified and bifurcated as per the Drugs and Cosmetic Rules, 1945. Various Biological products are included in the category of Schedule C Drugs. It includes toxins, sera, antigen, antitoxins, etc.

The Form 21C means the licence to stock, sell, exhibit or offer for sale or distribute retail drugs mentioned in the Schedule C and C1. The same is granted to the manufacturer or to any other person who wants to sell, stock, etc.

The applicant’s Chemist or Medical shop must have an adequate area of not less than 10sqr.mtrs. It should be equipped with all the proper storage facilities for preserving and conserving the properties of drugs. Lastly, the applicant (Competent Person) must mandatorily be as a Registered Pharmacist with the Pharmacy Council.

The applicant’s Chemist or Medical shop must have an adequate area of not less than 10sqr.mtrs. It should be equipped with all the proper storage facilities for preserving and conserving the properties of drugs. The applicant (Competent Person) must mandatorily be as a Registered Pharmacist with the Pharmacy Council. He should also either have passed Matriculation or is having equivalent four years’ experience in dealing with the Drugs or is holding a degree along with one year’s experience in dealing with Drugs.

The applicant’s Chemist or Medical shop must have an adequate area of not less than 15sqr.mtrs.

A Written complaint about the questionable quality of Drugs can be file to the Drugs Control Department, Govt. of N.C.T. of Delhi, at F-17, Karkardooma, Shahdara, Delhi-32. The complaint made must be indicating the Name and Address of the complainant, Name, and other particulars of the concerned drug and the nature of the complaint.

Several provisions dealing with the Drug licenses are provided under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, and rules thereunder. Moreover, the information and details can also be obtained in person from the drug inspectors placed in the Drugs Control Department.

The Following listed are the basic features of a Drug License:

  1. Obtaining Drug License is mandatory for drugs, medicine, or cosmetics business.
  2. The Drug License shall be issued for a commercial premise.
  3. Drugs and Cosmetics business are mandatorily required to comply with the requirement and conditions prescribed by the law and issuing authorities.
  4. The Holder of Drug License shall display the License issued all the time in the place of business.

Yes, obtaining Drug License is mandatory for each unit operating in any part of India. For example: For example, if a drug business has its unit operating in two separate states, it shall obtain the drug License for both the operational unit.

The books of accounts, forms, registers, and other related documents shall be maintained in such a way as may be prescribed by the licensing authority at the time of issuance of such license. Moreover, it is the license holder's duty to intimate about every change and modification that happened in his business.

Form 20B and 21B are required for obtaining the wholesale Drug License for the sale and redistribution of Allopathic Drugs under the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules.

The License for the sale of drugs can only be granted to the premises which are commercial premises or any other premise independent of residence. Before starting a business of drugs, it is always advisable to take guidance from the guidelines issued by the state drug office for this purpose.

Yes, obtaining Drug License is mandatory before starting any business dealing in drugs, whether it is Ayurvedic Medicine, Allopathic Drugs, Homeopathy or Unani, to manufacture, distribute or sell the drugs.

If in case a business dealing in drugs is operating in more than two states, then it has to obtain a drug license in every state in which the said business is being carried on. Drug licence is a location specific, and hence within a state application, all site must be included.

The Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 is governs and regulates the business dealing with drugs.

In India, the Drugs and Cosmetic Act, 1940, aims at ensuring effectiveness, safety, and conformity of the drugs and cosmetics sold to the state quality standards. Moreover, the drugs or cosmetics mentioned under schedule X are eligible to be imported only after obtaining Drug License.

  1. Firstly, with the rise of medical concerns in the recent times it became necessary for the government to take a control over the businesses dealing in this sector. So, if in case any entity obtains Drug license it can do its business without any fear of being caught.
  2. Secondly, an entity working in the pharma sector can easily expand and grow their wholesale business, as retailers would never hesitate in dealing with a person who has obtained the license from the concerned authority.

No, you are not allowed to start any drug business or sell the drugs without obtaining a License as per the nature of business from the Controller of the drugs and cosmetics.

No, in order to obtain Licenses for the sale of drugs commercial premises or other premises independent of residence, also known as mixed land use should be your premise.

Basis the needs of the applicant, he/she may apply for following types of License

  • Drug Manufacturing License
  • Retail Drug License,
  • Wholesale Drug License,
  • Import of Drugs or Cosmetics
  • Import of Medical Equipment
  • Export of Medicines etc.

Yes, for cases where a person is operating in more than two states, it has to obtain a Drug License in each state. The Drug License is issued as per the location and hence, within state application, all sites must be included.

It is the responsibility of all persons dealing with the drugs to maintain the quality of drugs in the medicines. If any person consuming or using a drug or cosmetic suffers any harm due to the negligence on the part of the manufacturer or seller, it amounts to an offense of grievous hurt under India Penal Code.

No, you need not to apply, but you need to submit the application copy to the Zonal Office of Central Drugs Standard and Control Organization (CDSCO) also.

Well, Swarit Advisors has set a benchmark for all kinds of Drug License and related services in India, with its in-house expert team of professionals from different academic excellence.

The main purpose of the Drugs and Cosmetic Act is to ensure the safety, effectiveness and conformity of the drugs and cosmetics sold in India to the state quality standards for which certain prohibitions have been provided under the Act.

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