asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he expects private pharmaceutical retailing to cease under the National Health Service; upon what grounds this might happen; and whether he will make a statement.
I assume that the right hon. Member is referring to pharmacies not owned by public companies.
If this is not the case, perhaps he would write to me. We fully appreciate the part played by local pharmacies, and this is reflected in the changes we have made in the method of remunerating pharmacists for NHS dispensing, which we hope will help to promote the viability of useful small pharmacies. We do not envisage their disappearance.