Pharmacy ramp: new requirements in 2023
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Retail trade in medicines, a “pharmacy” business, despite the complexity of launching the process, has good prospects and will always be a profitable direction of business development.
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Of course, to successfully register a pharmacy, your pharmacy shall comply with all licensing requirements. They include:
- Proper equipment of the place and premises for business activities;
- Qualified personnel with supporting documents for the right to carry out such activities;
- Convenient and appropriate access to pharmacies for persons with low mobility.
Now we will focus our attention on the third item from our list - convenient access to pharmacies for persons with low mobility (including the disabled persons). In particular, we will talk about wheelchair ramps and possible alternatives to them.
How have the requirements for the pharmacy wheelchair ramps changed in 2021?
The problem with the technical side of the wheelchair ramp installation may be failure to comply with the licensing requirements for the wheelchair ramp’s lifting degree, width and other characteristics.
Since April 2019 in Ukraine, new requirements for the installation of safe wheelchair ramps came into force, as according to statistics of 2019, almost 90% of wheelchair ramps in Ukraine were built incorrectly, and were not adapted for people with disabilities. Simply put, the efficiency of such wheelchair ramps is very low.
According to the new standards, all public spaces (residential buildings, their premises) shall provide easy access for groups of people with low mobility, on an equal basis with others. In other words, a properly designed and installed wheelchair ramp is a must.
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Types of pharmacy wheelchair ramps and rules of their installation
All designed wheelchair ramps are divided into the following groups:
- external, that is, those located outside the buildings, or at the entrance to them.
Acceptable (safe) slope of the external wheelchair ramp shall not exceed 8%, while the internal wheelchair ramp may have a 10-12% gradient. At the same time, the maximum height of each such wheelchair ramp shall not exceed 0.8 m. After each ascent it is necessary to arrange horizontal platforms with a depth of 1.5 m or more. And if necessary, the external wheelchair ramps can be designed with a heated surface or with a canopy/hood.
It is also necessary to replace the wheelchair ramp with lifting devices, if the lifting height is 3.0 m or more.
- internal wheelchair ramps located directly inside the buildings.
All wheelchair ramps, regardless of their width and inclination, must:
- have a non-slip rough and flat surface;
- be clearly marked with a color or texture that is in contrast to adjacent horizontal surfaces.
The width of the wheelchair ramp should be 1.2 m in one-way traffic and 1.8 m in two-way traffic.
If we are talking about the design and construction of new buildings, the regulations stipulate that:
- in case of new construction of buildings, vertical movement should be designed with the help of elevators;
- in case of reconstruction - vertical movement should be designed using wheelchair ramps and stair lifts.
For many licensees, the new rules for designing and installing the wheelchair ramp have become a big problem when passing the licensing inspections. The main problem is to meet the required parameters of the wheelchair ramp (width and lift).
Alternative to a pharmacy wheelchair ramp
In fact, a wheelchair ramp is not the only way to provide convenient entrance and access to the room for people with low mobility. Obviously, not every non-residential building provides an opportunity to add a structure with a width of 1.2 meters. Therefore, we advise those who are thinking about starting a pharmacy not to despair if there is no such opportunity, but to think about possible alternatives, such as:
- elevating platforms;
- vertical stairlifts;
- other special devices.
Previously, a popular way to bypass the installation of wheelchair ramps was to install a special button to call the staff, but with the entry into force of new requirements - this option is no longer relevant and legitimate.
In practice, when preparing documents of our Clients for submission to the licensing authority, we usually consider all possible options and give advice to the Client, based on their financial capabilities and technical characteristics of the pharmacy premises. Trying to act deftly in such a situation may simply lead to a refusal of the license.
In Ukraine pharmacies are inspected by the State Administration of Ukraine on Medicinal Products (hereinafter referred to as the SAUMP). The SAUMP checks compliance with legislative requirements regarding the quality of medicines, or the availability of appropriate material and technical base of the pharmacy.
Remember that the SAUMP employees have the right to inspect any premises of business entities without hindrance, but taking into account the established schedule of work, and in the presence of a decision on the inspection due to non-compliance.
If the SAUMP detects that not all requirements have been met or have been met with violations, the SAUMP has the right to issue an order and oblige the pharmacy to bring it in line with licensing requirements and standards in force. If the pharmacy does not comply with this requirement, the SAUMP has the right to cancel the license. This will subsequently result in the stoppage of operations, earnings and business in general.
If you need assistance in obtaining a Pharmacy License and bringing it in line with the requirements of legislation, don’t hesitate to call us. We will share our vast experience and take care of your future smooth operation.
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