Proposal:Deprecate healthcare=pharmacy

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Deprecate healthcare=pharmacy
Proposal status: Abandoned (inactive)
Proposed by: jeisenbe
Draft started: 2020-04-27
RFC start: 2020-04-28



The tag amenity=pharmacy has been widely used for 14 years to map pharmacies (a shop where a pharmacist sells prescription medications), and it has already been approved for this purpose. This proposal seeks to clarify that amenity=pharmacy remains the approved tag to use, and therefore the newer duplicate healthcare=pharmacy should be deprecated.

Pharmacies are somewhat healthcare-related, but they are also shops. In many countries they sell a variety of items, in addition to prescription pharmaceuticals, and sometimes serve as convenience shops (e.g. in the USA). Therefore, they are not exactly shops, nor exactly like a healthcare facility. The original key amenity=* is a reasonable choice. This has been confirmed with extensive usage of amenity=pharmacy by mappers and database users:***/amenity/pharmacy


So why are some pharmacies also tagged with healthcare=pharmacy? The history is that healthcare=* tags were introduced by the healthcare proposal. Originally the proposal authors suggested to deprecate amenity=pharmacy and replace it with shop=pharmacy, but due to strong opposition to deprecating amenity=pharmacy, that idea was abandoned in 2010.

However, later the tag healthcare=pharmacy started to be used later anyway, with intention by some mappers to deprecate amenity=pharmacy. This tag has almost exclusively been added to amenity=pharmacy features, not used alone. Almost all instances of healthcare=pharmacy were added in the past 2 years, due to a change in presets in one editor application.

There is opposition to this potential deprecation of the widely used tag amenity=pharmacy[1]. There is some support but it is often motivated by a mistaken understanding that it was "part of the accepted proposal"[2][3].

Approving this proposal will re-affirm the previous approval of amenity=pharmacy. This will make it clear that healthcare=pharmacy is not needed and should be deprecated.


A pharmacy is "A shop where a pharmacist sells medications. Such shops also called drugstores, especially in the United States."

"Typically sale of medications is regulated by the government, and pharmacists are typically licensed by the government. Stores that sell other items typically found in pharmacies such as personal care items, but that do not sell regulated medications, should be not be tagged as amenity=pharmacy, but instead perhaps as shop=chemist."

The related description at Item:Q4876 is "A shop or a dedicated counter within a shop, where a pharmacist sells and possibly prepares medications"

[This is the current definition used on amenity=pharmacy, and will not be changed by the proposal, it is included here for reference only].

Features/Pages affected

External discussions


Please comment on the discussion page.