UK supermarkets Asda and Tesco have reduced the prices of pharmaceutical products by up to 50%, after a 30-year-old price fixing agreement by British pharmacists has collapsed with a court ruling.

The Office of Fair Trading brought the court action to outlaw the Resale Price Agreement on branded over-the-counter medicines and director general John Vickers commented: “This is excellent news for consumers.”

The Community Pharmacy Action Group argues that smaller pharmacies will now have to close or reduce their stock, but it said that it has abandoned plans to oppose the ruling after the judge insisted it would be very difficult to argue successfully for the resumption of price protection.