A 30-year-old exemption from laws banning manufacturers from setting minimum product prices could be lifted by the Restrictive Practices Court, reports BBC News Online.
At present manufacturers can set a minimum price for products sold to the public, but the Office of Fair Trading now wants the courts to review the rules to see if this is still in the public’s best interest.
Pharmacies argue that the exemption allows them to protect their profit margin and remain viable. They feel that they cannot compete against the bulk buying power of the supermarket, and a change in the law will force many local pharmacies to close.
The products affected by the exemption include over the counter sales of antiseptics, indigestion remedies, cough and cold treatments, food supplements and anti-smoking products, as well as painkillers.