Independent pharmacists under threat from the abolition of Resale Price Maintenance on over the counter medicines have been thrown a lifeline by Londis and Unichem. The 2,000-strong symbol group and the pharmaceutical wholesaler which delivers to 4,000 chemists have linked up to develop a format for independent pharmacists who want to expand into convenience retailing. The move echoes trends in the US, where the combined drugstore/c-store is a fast growing development. Londis chief executive Graham White said the mix had been tested at a store in Northolt, Middlesex. Six further sites have been identified for the makeover. He said the link-up had come about as it had been foreseen that RPM on OTC medicines would be abolished: "The idea is to further develop a destination and impulse shopping environment, bringing together a community and convenience need." Londis commercial director Denise Buller said: "While pharmacies enjoy good footfall and repeat visits from their prescription business, they fail to capitalise on impulse sales." Unichem and Londis have developed a dedicated fascia and instore presentation, backed by an appropriate inventory to encourage impulse buying. This week the Restrictive Practices Court abolished RPM on OTC medicines. The decision came as the Community Pharmacy Action Group caved in to OFT demands for a free market in common cold remedies and nutritional supplements. {{NEWS }}