Within my own industry, that of independent food retailing, we have had to react to the supermarkets with longer opening hours, better standards in shops, and constantly trying to find a point of difference. 

The independent trade now has many services available ­ ATMs, cashback, PayPoint, post offices, bill payment, newspapers and a drinks licence ­ many of which would not have been available to the convenience industry 20 or 30 years ago. 

So what of pharmacy? Will this mean you can open a pharmacy anywhere? Will the all-conquering multiples consume yet another chunk of business? 

At C J Lang & Son, Scotland's largest independent wholesaler covering the whole of Scotland for Spar and VG, we take the view that we have to grab any opportunity that arises. The change in the pharmacists licensing rules could be an advantage. Why not have the local pharmacy within your local c-store? Or local pharmacists, many of whom have reasonable square footage, could join together with an organisation such as Spar to bolster business. 

Footfall is the name of the game. If the independent retailer, whether grocery or pharmacy based, does not use any advantage that may come from this deregulation, you can bet your boots others will. 

These others may not even be the multiples. They could easily be your own local doctor who could decide to i
install a small pharmacy within his surgery. 

We do not know how wide reaching the changes in regulations will be, but I believe at this stage that both the pharmaceutical industry and the independent local convenience store should review their own particular scenarios as perhaps a partnership between both either way could be to their advantage.