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"Corner shops mustn't lose out" says Lib Dem MEP Sharon Bowles

October 16, 2009 3:04 PM

Local Liberal Democrat MEP Sharon Bowles is working to make sure the UK's corner shops don't lose out from a proposed EU Directive on the safety of Pharmaceuticals.

The Directive would introduce new controls to restrict the spread of counterfeit medicines into the supply chain. It aims to protect patient health by making sure only genuine medicines reach consumers.

But Sharon Bowles is warning fellow MEPs that attempts to include non-prescription medications like Anadin or Ibuprofen in the Directive could put small shopkeepers at risk.

"Especially in hard economic times, our corner shops need all the trade they can get. And we've all been in the situation where we pop in to get an aspirin for a throbbing headache - and end up picking up a lot of other things as well, from loo rolls to dog food. Being able to stock these valuable over-the-counter medicines makes a big difference to our corner shops.

"Well-intentioned legislation should not over-regulate sectors that don't need it. Over-the-counter medicines are cheap enough that they are hardly ever counterfeited. Including them in the Directive would add a needless regulatory and administrative burden that pharmacies can cope with but corner shops can't."

Like Ireland and the Netherlands, Britain has a liberal market where over-the-counter medicines can be sold outside of pharmacies. Other countries have a more restricted approach and subsidy of pharmacies.

Sharon said, "The consequences are wider than might be thought, so I am making sure the needs of the corner shops are heard in Parliament - but it's a two-sided process and it needs to be reflected by the government in the European Council."