Mention "mail order" to supermarket pharmacy directors and the response, almost uniformly, is gritted teeth and daggered looks. It's not just that mail-order pharmacy is competition. It's the particular kind of competition that mail-order offers: insidious, in the case of the "vanishing patient" syndrome; and unfair, courtesy of "differential pricing," most supermarket pharmacies would say. "Mail-order can be very difficult to defend against because you can't see it operating," says Russell ...

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