Asda has become the first UK supermarket to sell pharmacy products online, in a move that could see it process electronic prescriptions next year.

Last week, Asda soft launched, which sells over-the-counter products and items that some customers may be embarrassed to purchase in stores. The 1,500 products range from thrush remedies to hair-loss treatments.

For certain products, customers have to fill in an online survey that is checked by a pharmacist. Asda has teamed up with Pharmacy2U, which provides the validation and fulfils orders.

Customers cannot yet send prescriptions to Asda electronically, but the retailer expects to be able to offer this service in 2008.

Asda trading manager for general merchandise and Dan Balding said: “This would put us in a good space for the way the NHS is looking to change electronic prescriptions.”

An Asda spokeswoman confirmed that it is also in talks about an out-of-hours GP consultancy service in a store, as Retail Week revealed (February 2).