Pharmacists fear law change may close chemists shops

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The Independent Online
Consultation on whether resale price maintenance should be retained for over-the-counter medicines was announced yesterday by the Office of Fair Trading amid signs that it may seek a change in the law.

The supermarket chain Asda has been campaigning for a change in the law but pharmacists fear that this could result in the closure of 3,000 chemists' shops. The OFT said yesterday that prescriptions now make up a larger share of pharmacy sales than in 1970 when the law was set; only 16 per cent of customers go to pharmacists for such medicines; and the growth of chemists' chains suggest that pharmacies are more profitable than in the past.