Private pharmacies, drug stores, and drug sellers are often the first point of contact for healthcare in low- and middle-income countries. Many can provide increased accessibility and lower costs to consumers than broader healthcare institutions such as hospitals. Despite these favorable characteristics, there continues to be a low availability of pharmacists in many low- and middle-income countries, as compared to those with higher incomes.
Twelve programs profiled in the CHMI database are employing pharmacy chains as an emerging model to expand accessibility to reliable quality medicines for the poor, such as 786 Pharmacies Chain in Afghanistan. This commercial retail model organizes private providers as owners of their own pharmacy kiosk or store into a network that delivers medicines and health products under a common brand, with a promise of quality assurance. Other models which programs are using to improve access and quality of the pharmaceutical sectors in developing countries include adding a pharmacy to existing clinics, licensing and accrediting pharmacies such as the program ADDO of Tanzania