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Asda Wants UK to Loosen Pharmacy Rules

LONDON - British supermarket group Asda said today it will lobby the UK to allow more competition in the pharmacy industry, potentially saving consumers 420 million pounds ($600 million) a year, Reuters reports.

Asda, owned by Wal-Mart, said in a statement it would present research to the Office of Fair Trading, which is currently investigating whether to loosen the regulation of new pharmacy licenses. The commission is expected to conclude its investigation later this year.

Asda estimates if the rules governing new licenses are relaxed, it could lead to a 10 percent increase in the number of pharmacies over the next five years, according to Reuters. The number of pharmacies in the UK has remained static at around 12,000 for the last 10 years, providing less choice than countries like Italy, France, Germany and Spain, Reuters reports. A growing number of supermarkets are looking to make greater inroads into the UK pharmacy industry, which generates 18.7 billion pounds a year in sales.
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