Cheaper drugs just the tonic
News that supermarket giant Tesco is to enter the Irish retail pharmacy market is good news for Irish consumers who have long had to pay way over the odds for prescription and over-the-counter medicines.
Retail pharmacy has long been one of the most egregious of Ireland's rotten boroughs with a slew of international reports highlighting the lack of competition in the sector. Even the entry of UK retailer Boots into the Irish market didn't do anything to noticeably improve matters.
Now Tesco is threatening to upset this cosy applecart by extending the 20pc retail mark-up, which already applies to public patients, to all medicines it supplies to private patients. With other pharmacists charging private patients a retail mark-up of anywhere between 73pc and 354pc, the savings could be very considerable.