HC Deb 31 July 1998 vol 317 c774W
Mr. Brady

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assurances his Department gave to the Community Pharmacy Action Group in relation to resale price maintenance. [54242]

Dr. Howells

We have made it clear to the Community Pharmacy Action Group, as we did to the House, that we recognise the important role that community pharmacies play and that we would expect the Restrictive Practices Court to consider fully the issues relating to the retention and abolition of resale price maintenance for over-the-counter medicines, including the effect on local communities of possible pharmacy closures. We have also said that we would wish to take a robust line with the European Commission if, following a decision by the Restrictive Practices Court with respect to the continuation of the exemption for over-the-counter medicines under the Resale Prices Act, the Commission took action which flew in the face of that decision.

Mr. Brady

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate he has made of the number of community pharmacies which will close as a result of the ending of resale price maintenance. [54241]

Mr. Ian McCartney

My Department has not made an estimate.

The Director General of Fair Trading has considered the impact upon community pharmacies of the removal of resale price maintenance in his January 1998 report "Material Changes in the Medicaments Market since 1970". A copy of his report has been placed in the Library of the House.