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Labour MPs call on Boots to keep ‘Black Friday’ pricing on morning after pill

morning after pill

By Isabel Shaw
Reporter

29 Nov 2021

A group of Labour MPs have called on Boots UK to keep the morning after pill at its temporarily discounted price beyond its Black Friday sale.  

In an open letter, sent to the managing director of Boots yesterday (28 November), 26 women from the parliamentary Labour group asked the multiple not to ‘double’ the price of its emergency contraception.   

It follows an advert from Boots UK, published on Friday (26 November), which told customers they could save up to £28.25 on emergency contraception using a Black Friday code. 

Boots UK is currently offering a range of options for emergency contraception (EC), priced from £15.99 to £56.50, with the half-price offer running from 26 November until 30 November 2021. 

The Labour MPs said that the discount, and the fact other pharmacies sell the morning after pill for as little as £4, demonstrates that Boots UK continues to impose a ‘sexist surcharge’ on the ‘important’ medication.    

The letter also read: ‘Until the Government addresses the chronic underinvestment in sexual and reproductive healthcare, pharmacy access to emergency contraception will be many women’s only option to prevent an unplanned pregnancy when their usual method has failed.’ 

They added: ‘Boots has the opportunity to lead the way on this issue and demonstrate a clear commitment to improving women’s reproductive health and wellbeing. We implore you to do so’. 

A Boots UK spokesperson said that although the multiple sometimes offers short term promotions to raise awareness of certain services ‘it is not usually possible to sustain significant discounts in the long term’.

‘Our pricing model takes into account the expert clinical advice and consultation that we give with these services and the prices are in line with other high street pharmacies’, they explained. 

‘The morning after pill is available for free in many NHS settings, including in Boots pharmacies that have been commissioned by local NHS CCGs to provide such a service.’

They also said: ‘This Black Friday promotion that ran on our Online Doctor hub was 50% off all men’s and women’s private healthcare services’.

On Friday, Boots UK was criticised by a women’s health charity and the public for offering a discount on the morning after pill. 

Speaking to The Pharmacist, Katherine O’Brien, associate director of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), said the deal felt ‘tasteless’ and ‘very wrong’. 

The deal also ‘exposes’ the profit being made on the product, she suggested. 

In 2017, BPAS received a legal warning from Boots UK after asking the pharmacy to cut the cost of EC amid claims that British women are forced to pay up to five times more than those in Europe for the contraceptive. 

The charity had set up a campaign to encourage customers to directly email employees of Boots to complain regarding the lack of an affordable option for emergency contraceptives, which is available at other pharmacies.  

In 2018, Boots UK reduced the price of its generic brand of levonorgestrel from £26.75 to £15.99


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