High street retailer Superdrug has announced that its pharmacies will be dispensing private prescriptions without any mark-up, potentially saving consumers millions of pounds.

The company announced this week that any prescription medicines not funded by the National Health Service will now be sold at trade price, in a bold move that could well spark a price war if others strive to stay competitive.

“In the past, privately prescribed medicines have been priced as though any other product. However, we believe that medicines prescribed by a doctor, whether private or on the NHS, should be treated in the same way,” said Superdrug superintendent pharmacist Martin Crisp, explaining the move.

The decision means that the price of four Viagra (sildenafil) pills, for example, will now be £23.50 instead of £28.20, while the cost of the birth control pill Yasmin (drospirenone and ethinyl estradiol) will sink from £47.75 to £31.63, representing substantial savings for patients.

The group is urging other pharmacies across the country to follow in its footsteps. “There are hundreds of thousands of private prescriptions issued every year and if everyone joined us and changed the way private prescriptions are priced this could save Britons tens of millions every year,” Crisp stressed.

Earlier this year, supermarket chain ASDA, and shortly afterwards Superdrug, Tesco and Sainsburys, began selling ‘not-for-profit’ cancer medicines.