Asda looks to drive-thru pharmacies following outcome of OFT inquiry

Drive-thru pharmacies will be a key element in Asda's plans to put a pharmacy in every store now that the OFT has recommended liberalisation of the market.

Asda's objective was put on hold while the OFT conducted its investigation.

In the past two years, Asda has only opened one pharmacy because of the lack of certainty about the inquiry's outcome.

Drive-thru pharmacies are a key feature of Wal-Mart's 49 US Neighborhood Market stores, which all have one. However, Asda's business unit director David Miles said that UK plans will also include improving in-store pharmacies by, for example, adding consultation areas and services.

Asda has had drive-thru pharmacies on its agenda for three years and says they would be a financially attractive part of its pharmacy portfolio.

Any investment programme is at least a year away, so that legislation can be put in place.

- Analysis: p10.