§ Mr. Clifton-Brown
To ask the President of the Board of Trade what is the policy justification for the continuation of retail price maintenance for(a) pharmaceuticals, (b) newspapers and (c) periodicals; and what other products or services for which retail price maintenance is still in force there are.
§ Mr. Jonathan Evans
Resale price maintenance is unlawful under the Resale Prices Act 1976, subject to the possibility of exemption by the restrictive practices court on public interest grounds. Two exemptions are in force, for books and for certain pharmaceuticals, which were exempted on the grounds that price competition between retailers would be likely to lead to a reduction in the number of outlets offering prescription services. No exemption exists in relation to newspapers or periodicals.