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Minister rejects supermarket threat


Public health minister Gillian Merron has said there are no plans to change pharmacy regulations following concerns that in-house supermarket set-ups are stifling local pharmacies.

Ms Merron countered claims made by Plaid Cymru MP Hywel Williams that supermarkets are forcing local pharmacies out of business, saying there was no evidence to back up the allegation.

She said that supermarket pharmacies account for only 5% of the market compared with local high street brands such as Lloyds, Boots and Co-Op which take up one third of the market.

However, she did concede that judgement calls could be made in individual circumstances – such as those in rural areas where local pharmacies provide essential services – under the 2009 Health Act in order to ensure local people, particularly elderly or vulnerable residents, have sufficient access to pharmaceutical services.

Ms Merron also came under pressure to review regulations in order to better accommodate local pharmacies from Labour MP Graham Allen (Nottingham North), who urged proposals protecting small businesses to be brought forward.

Copyright Press Association 2010

Department of Health

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