The scheme is designed to give people wider choice, particularly with regards to when and where they collect equipment.
A DoH statement said: “The new system will not change the way a user or carer who needs state support is assessed. It will, however, change the way equipment is provided, with accredited retailers agreeing to stock and distribute it.
“Accredited retailers will give state-supported users the choice they have not previously enjoyed by offering to either exchange equipment for prescriptions or topping up existing prescriptions to users’ products of choice.”
The trials, described by the DoH as "shadow running", will be evaluated to determine financial benefits as well as the effects on the quality of the products.
Ivan Lewis, the minister for care services, said: “The new retail model was developed by the people who use and deliver services and has users and carers at its heart.
“It demonstrates how local government, the NHS and third-sector organisations can work with retailers to deliver personalised services more efficiently”.