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Call to protect local pharmacies


Small local pharmacies are facing the risk of a “death by a thousand cuts” just like post offices, MPs have warned.

Ministers have been asked to protect them following concerns over their loss of customers with the increasing trend for major supermarkets to offer pharmacy services.

Says Tory Nigel Evans (Ribble Valley): “If the supermarkets suck in some of the customers from the independent pharmacists, what we are going to see is death by a thousand cuts.

“And for the ageing population some of them simply won’t be able to get into the major towns and they are going to lose an essential place for them to go and get their medicines.”

New regulations were resulting in “serious confusion and real concern” among pharmacists, shadow health minister Mark Simmonds said.

Small pharmacies were “an invaluable part of the local community”, Labour’s Graham Allen (Nottingham North) said, urging health minister Mike O’Brien to try every way possible to help them “survive and thrive”.

“While the big giant supermarkets are most welcome normally in communities, would you also accept that they have the tendency to suck in other services – particularly pharmacies – and not give the sort of service that is often intimate, and local, and reaches out to the community,” Mr Allen said.

Copyright © Press Association 2009

Department of Health

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