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Volume 404: debated on Tuesday 6 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many representations she has received from members of the public regarding the proposed deregulation of the pharmacy industry; and if she will make a statement. [110706]

We have received numerous representations from members of the public and other stakeholders regarding the OFT report on the control of entry regulations and retail pharmacy services in the UK.In relation to England, the Government have said that we favour change to open up the market and improve quality and access without diminishing the crucial role that pharmacies play, especially in poorer and rural areas. The Government intend to come forward with a balanced package of proposals for consultation before the summer recess.The regulations on pharmacy entry controls are devolved in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and the devolved Administrations announced their responses to the OFT's recommendations on 26 March.