Welsh Assembly drags heels over online pharmacies

Blushingbuyer threatens move to England

A Welsh online retailer is facing forced exile to England if the Welsh Assembly doesn't adopt new regulations for pharmacies. Once the new regulations become law, in April 2005, it will be possible to sell prescription drugs through a website.

And that could be bad news for Blushingbuyer.co.uk. If the Welsh Assembly does not make the regulations into law then Blushingbuyer might have to head to England. The site offers products that could be embarrassing to buy in person. These range from halitosis cures to pregnancy testing kits and sex toys.

The firm is enjoying good growth but wants to become an online pharmacy when the regulations change. Sales are growing well and it has recently taken on more staff at its offices in Newport.

Steve Aicheler, managing director of Blushingbuyer.co.uk, told El Reg: "This is something we are very keen on doing but we need the Welsh Assembly to adopt these new regulations. We would concentrate on more embarrassing purchases but we might set up a more general pharmacy as well." He warned that he might be forced to move the business to England to comply with the law.

But the Welsh Assembly has decided not to deregulate retail pharmacists because it wants to protect community pharmacists. In July 2003, Jane Hutt, health minister at the time, said the community shops "play a vital role in both our very rural areas and in some of our most deprived urban districts", reports Ping Wales, an online IT news site.

Hutt was removed from office last month, after attacks from just about everyone - from Conservative assembly members to Labour MPs Jon Owen Jones and Dr Kim Howells. ®

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