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How Are Pharmacy Shelves Best Arranged?

There is no one set solution to pharmacy layout. The shop floor plan and pharmacist only areas  can differ depending on the running and location of said pharmacies. However, the main purpose of a pharmacy should be to cater to the needs of the community.

Some aspects that can affect how the pharmacy shelves are arranged include;

  • The age range of the community.
  • The general health and wellbeing within the community.
  • If a pharmacy is attached to a wider chain, and therefore has to follow certain SOPs (I.E; Morrisons, Tescos, or other supermarket pharmacies).
  • Pharmacy chains.
  • Independent pharmacies.
  • The size of the pharmacy, both following a shop floor plan and back of house.
  • Storage systems available to the pharmacy (I.E; modular drawer storage systems, pharmacy storage bins, etc).

  • As a result, it can be difficult to explain how pharmacy shelves are arranged – and that’s before considering international differences! If you need to know how pharmacy shelves are arranged then it may be better to consider elements many pharmacies have in common.

    Modular Drawer Storage Systems

    Modular drawer storage systems are generally considered best practice for businesses like pharmacies. In scenarios where accessible shop floor plans are paramount; the customisable nature of module storage systems, drawers included, is a huge benefit.


    Pandemics and medical breakthroughs alike mean you may be required to stock new – or more – medication at short notice. Not to mention health guidelines like social distancing for example can affect your shop floor plans. As such, having sets of drawers that can be adapted to suit current needs is always a plus.

    Pharmacy shelves for vets

    Pharmacy Storage Bins

    Pharmacy storage bins are more commonly used back of house. They’re generally deeper and used to hold the same medications for easy access during prescription filling. When using pharmacy storage bins, the standard practice tends to be having many storage bins displayed in rows. This makes scanning the storage bins to find the right medication easier.

    These pharmacy storage bins can either be made from see-through materials, so that medication is visible, or labelled. Some storage bins also come with a lid and can be filled from the top, so that medication is pushed to the front when pharmacists remove some.

    Pharmacy Shelves Arrangement Methods

    We’ve touched on how the best practise for shop floor layouts within a pharmacy should prioritise accessibility. As well as how selecting modular drawer storage systems can help keep your pharmacy customisable, both front and back of house. But to explain how the pharmacy shelves are arranged outside of customer areas depends on how your pharmacy opporates.

    There are several ways to organise medications. The method you select may be make or break for filling prescriptions, especially if you lack space back of house. For the purpose of simplifying solutions, the examples we list will use pharmacy storage bins.


    Sorting medications in alphabetical order has the benefit of being a familiar sorting system for most people. This makes it easy to scan the pharmacy storage bins for the right medication. However, most medications are sorted by their generic drug names or the INN (international nonproprietary name).

    This requires pharmacists to be familiar with different names for the same drug so they don’t make mistakes when filling prescriptions. Alphabetising medications with similar sounding names may also prove problematic for people with certain disabilities, like dyslexia.


    Some pharmacies may choose to separate their medications into types. This means keeping things like bottles, creams, pills, and boosters in their own sections. This means pharmacists have to be familiar with the appearance of medications.

    Generally a system like this has to be combined with something like an alphabetical storage solution. Otherwise, it should only be used for commonly required medications, or very small pharmacies. Scouring the labels may take much longer otherwise.


    No matter how you use your modular drawer storage system, communicating with all pharmacists is essential. If you’re aware that certain storage solutions may stump members of the team then include them in discussions on how to improve pharmacy shelf arrangements.

    Inov8 provides bespoke and ready-to-buy shelving solutions that work around any pharmacy. If this doesn’t explain how the pharmacy shelves are arranged, then please get in contact. We are able to work with you to find a storage solution that helps your pharmacy thrive.

    pharmacy floor plan design

    Where here to help

    • If you are looking for some help designing your pharmacy floor space of shelving systems we have over 40 years of experience to help you achieve what you need for your business. Contact us here or call today on 0845 556 4371