Proposed features/Chemist

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Status: Abandoned (inactive)
Proposed by: Ulfl
Applies to: node area
Definition: A chemist
Drafted on: 2007-12-14


A different (better?) term might be: health & beauty retailer (found here).

A shop selling soap, cosmetics, shampoo, perfume, toothpaste, hairbrushes, cleaning supplies, ...

These shops (German: Drogerie, Dutch: drogist) usually have no specially trained advise staff to sell drugs. Examples are: Superdrug(UK), Boots (UK), Budnikowsky (DE), Ihr Platz (DE), Kruidvat (NL, BE)


Applies to nodes:

<tag k="shop" v="chemist"/>

or better:

<tag k="shop" v="health_and_beauty"/> ?!?


Any ideas for an icon?

What is a "chemist", "pharmacy", "drugstore", "drogerie" (de) or "droguerie" (fr) ?

One issue is that there are no unique definitions or translations for what "chemist" and allied terms mean, even in English-speaking countries, so it might help to describe them on a country by country basis. They often evolved because of laws and shop categories 50 years ago rather than today. Here is an attempt to describe some of these. I don't claim to be absolutely right so do please add or make changes! MikeCollinson 12:21, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

UK, Australia and New Zealand

For most people a pharmacy and a chemist meant (past tense) the same thing - a place whose primary business is to always to sell medical drugs and first-aid supplies (bandages, antiseptic creams, etc). It would probably have a small range of personal hygiene products such as toothpaste and perhaps sell cosmetic products. In recent times, the range of products offered by such shops has expanded and blurred with other stores whose focus is more on cosmetic, beauty and personal hygiene products.

More strictly a pharmacy / pharmacy counter is where you can buy prescription drugs and has strictly trained personnel. A hospital might have a pharmacy which deals in nothing but prescription drugs. In a town the pharmacy would be part of a dispensing chemist store. Hence dispensing=yes means "can sell prescription drugs", dispensing=no means "cannot sell prescription drugs but sells over-the-counter drugs and first-aid supplies".

over-the-counter drugs (OTC) = drugs that you can buy without a doctor's prescription certificate like Aspirin.


Comparing to the UK:

The word chemist is not used to describe a retail store. A pharmacy is pretty much what an Englishman means by a chemist.

drugstore is another historic retail category that sells a broader range of products like magazines and soft drinks ... a sort of forerunner of the convenience store. In the UK the same ecological niches was occupied by the completely different newsagent category (nothing to do with medicines).


From Ulfl:

Apotheke = Operated by specially trained personal. Allowed to sell drugs - and a pharmacy is limited to drugs and maybe some first-aid supplies and a very limited assortment of "wellness products" (like high priced facial cream).

Drogerie = Not allowed to sell drugs, but will sell personal hygiene, washing, cleaning, household and alike products.

  • Spain
Farmacia (pharmacy)= Operated by specially trained personal. Ownwed by a pharmacologist that has been granted with a licence. Products that can be advertised as "selled in pharmacies" need permission to do so. lately the pharmacologist is selling a wider range of products all related to higiene, babys ... there is not such a thing as pharmacy=dispensing no
Drogeria (i would translate it to drugstore) not allowed to sell any type of medicine. just parfume, personal hygiene, washing, cleaning, household and alike products.--Sergionaranja 19:05, 6 May 2008 (UTC)


does this replicate pharmacy - already on the map features pages? they both generally have the same sort of products for sale, and both dispense pres. drugs - at least in England, aus and nz anyway? Myfanwy 01:33, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

  • In Germany there's a clear (even legal) distinction as only a pharmacy (operated by specially trained personal) is allowed to sell drugs - and a pharmacy is limited to drugs and maybe a very limited assortment of "wellness products" (like high priced facial cream). A chemist is not allowed to sell drugs, but will sell personal hygiene, washing, cleaning, household and alike products. Here in Germany tagging a chemist with amenity=pharmacy would be utterly wrong. When I remember correct, the same applies to France, The Netherlands, Switzerland and probably a lot other countries ... -- Ulfl 01:57, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
    • I am confused. Wikipedia says that a "chemist" is allowed to sell prescription drugs (see [1]). Also, in many countries like US and Canada, drugstores with pharmacies are allowed to sell many other types of goods as well. Shoppers Drug Mart, Canada's largest pharmacy chain, sells non-prescription drugs, hygiene products, cleaning products, household products, food, cosmetics, magazines, photo finishing services and many other products unrelated to drugs. In the US and Canada, even some grocery stores and Wal-Marts contain pharmacies. There is no such thing as a "chemist" here, although most supermarkets (whether they have prescription counters or not) sell the things that you say a "chemist" sells. We already have amenity=pharmacy, dispensing=no for what you would be describing here, which I'm not sure is actually called a "chemist". Andrewpmk 03:36, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
      • There was no explanation of dispensing, so I thought this was some sort of dispensing machine - could you clarify what this actually means? When I get you right, chemist and pharmacy is basically the same - then chemist is the wrong word and amenity=pharmacy,dispensing=no might be the way to go. ;-) Or is there a better word for these kind of shops? (shop=hardware doesn't seem to fit here) -- Ulfl 09:41, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
        • then chemist is the wrong word and amenity=pharmacy,dispensing=no might be the way to go no. A Drogerie has just nothing to do with a pharmacy here in Germany. --Bkr 20:55, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
    • I see what is meant. In the UK we have Boots(ignore ones with a pharmacy counter) and Superdrug etc. They sell hair products, shampoo, perfume, toothpaste, that sort of stuff. They are on the same level as any other high street store or a few aisles in a supermarket (no specially trained advise staff). - LastGrape 19:58, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
      • Yes, Boots is exactly what I mean. German examples are: Schlecker, Ihr Platz, Müller... - now we only need a good tag for it :-) -- Ulfl 17:57, 16 December 2007 (UTC)

Dutch and Belgian example is Kruidvat. Although, when hearing chemist, I would rather think it was about a shop selling paint and chemicals... --Polyglot 08:05, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

  • A drugstore is not a shop selling drugs ? Same origine as Drogerie (de) or droguerie (fr) Gummibaerli 08:02, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
  • The basic problem is that the terminology just does not translate well between different countries, even if English-speaking because of different laws and historic retail categories. I've started a summary section above. My personal suggestion, therefore, is that this proposal should not be approved as it will confuse and overlaps with amenity=pharmacy. We should have a small core of internationally recognisable shop= values in English but otherwise folks should evolve a set suitable for their own countries. In other words, if it is a Drogerie, call it shop=drogerie MikeCollinson 12:21, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
    First of all, thanks for working out the terminology. In school I've learned that Apotheke=pharmacy and Drogerie=chemist - which turns out to be plain wrong. After this clarification, I perfectly agree that chemist is the wrong term here. But as such shops don't seem to be very germany specific, I guess it should be possible to find an internationally understandable term for this. -- Ulfl 22:10, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Maybe I'm old-fashioned (following on from Mike Collinson's "past tense"), but in my mind (as a native English speaker) I'm struggling to see a distinction between chemist and pharmacy in the UK, the only thing that currently occurs to me is that I'd call the in-house department in a hospital a pharmacy and not a chemist, otherwise they seem to me to be pretty well interchangeable. I'm also puzzled by the idea of a "Boots the Chemist" store that doesn't have a dispensing counter. I don't recall ever having seen one - maybe it's a regional difference. -- DavidJames 03:03, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

It seems that for Spain works the same as Germany. i have put above the difference between "Farmacia" and "Drogeria". To me, chemist sounds as a chemicals shop, there are some in Madrid where you can buy pure chemicals used by chemists (person who has a degree in chemistry) or any one that knows what to do whith them. so i think chemist is confusing. i would go for what MikeCollinson says unless a internationally term is found. by now here in spain we don´t tag anything as pharmacy: dispencing no (there is not such a thing) and discussion to use it for drogeria has not been aproved as it can´t sell any drugs not even aspirine. i personally would tag it something between shop=health beauty, shop=hardware, shop=household...--Sergionaranja 19:58, 6 May 2008 (UTC)

I put a sketch on the way I understood it and added some suggestions. Any comments? Alternatively, one could also think of a scheme with a general amenity=shop with additional cosmetic_hygiene=yes/no, OTC_drugs=yes/no, dispensable=yes/no, but this would require assigning an icon depending on the values of a number of keys.--Jesuzphreak 23:05, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

I think we need to tackle this issue but not in this way. To me a chemist (in the uk) is usually a small store with a pharmacy that also sells non prescription and OTC drug and well as a small number of number of health and beauty stores. Larger stores such as Boots (although some smaller boots store I would class as a pharmacy as that is theirmain trade so to speak) and Supperdrug which happen to have pharmacys in the corner of the store should probably be tagged shop=health_and_beauty with amentiy=pharmacy. This would also fit into tagging the growing number of supermarkets with a pharmacy counter. -- User:Pobice
Do you mean by "happen to have pharmacys in the corner" that there is a pharmacy in the same buildung which has a different operator? In this case these would be two separate businesses for me and should be mapped accordingly. --Jesuzphreak 17:55, 18 April 2009 (UTC)
As far as I am aware most tend to be run by the same operator--Pobice 21:05, 18 April 2009 (UTC)
Ok, then its completely different from the situation in Germany. Here a chemist(Drogerie) and a pharmacy are never operated by the same institution.--Jesuzphreak 21:09, 18 April 2009 (UTC)

From my personal experience in Germany, the UK, Italy, and the US, there is a clear distinction between supermarkets, which sell predominantly food, drugstores/chemists which sell predominantly personal hygiene and cosmetics as well as houshould cleaning products, and pharmacies, which sell prescription drugs (regulated by laws). In the US, prominent examples of the drugstore variety are CVS, Duane Reade, Walgreens. Confusingly, Walgreens and CVS have (without execption) a pharmacy counter inside the store, often with seperate business hours (licenced personnel required).German examples include DM (Budni), Schlecker, Rossmann. As mentioned elsewhere, in Germany and Austria the law for pharmacy makes it impractical to have them as part of large store chains, so they continue to exist as seperate stores. If people are too hung up on the British chemist (i.e. Boots), I'd suggest the American drugstore as an alternative. And yes, drugstores/chemists) nowadays sell a very similar selection of goods as supermarkets, especially the larger stores. Nonetheless, when I need slightly more specialised producs, the distinction is usually helpful and necessary. User:Stefan Bethke 13:57, 19 April 2009

See Also