Politics: Dobson chemist plea fails

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Margaret Beckett has rejected an appeal by Frank Dobson to halt attempts by supermarkets to sell non-prescription medicines such as Beecham's and Neurofen at discount prices.

The Health Secretary wrote to the President of the Board of Trade warning that community chemists could be forced out of business by supermarkets if they are allowed to slash the price of a range of household medicines which do not require a prescription. But Mrs Beckett has ordered her ministers to reject an attempt to protect the profit margins of the chemists in the Competition Bill in the House of Lords on Monday. Colin Brown