Boots Issue Apology After Morning After Pill Row
The Debrief: ...but has the damage already been done?
Boots sparked controversy last week when they refused to lower the price of the morning-after pill. The high-street chemist received backlash from campaigners and MPs after releasing their statement, in a letter to BPAS seen by the Independent.
‘In our experience, the subject of EHC [emergency hormonal contraception] polarises public opinion and we receive frequent contact from individuals who voice their disapproval of the fact that the company chooses to provide this service. We would not want to be accused of incentivizing use, and provoking complaints, by significantly reduction the price of this product.’
In response, the Women's Parliamentary Labour Party sent Boots a letter stating their concern with the company's statement. Signed by Women's PLP chair Jess Phillips, the letter said:
‘Boots is the largest high-street pharmacy in the UK and 90% of the population lives within 10 minutes of one of their shops. It is there for completely unacceptable that British women have been paying up to £30 for a pill that costs a fraction of that to produce. The high cost of emergency contraception at Boots is preventing women from accessing it when needed.’
However, since the controversy, Boots have an issued an apology. ‘Pharmacy and care for customers are at the heart of everything we do, and as such we are truly sorry that our poor choice of words in describing our position on emergency hormonal contraception has caused offence and misunderstanding, and we sincerely apologise.’
Welcomed by BPAS. Claire Murphy, director of External Affairs at BPAS said:
‘We really welcome this apology from Boots and are delighted that they are committed to lowering the cost of emergency contraception. We look forward to learning what the next steps will be and the timeframe for these changes. As other retailers have been able to introduce a price reduction across their stores we hope Boots will act promptly to ensure women have affordable access to this back-up method of contraception, which gives women a crucial second chance of avoiding an unwanted pregnancy.’
Boots currently charge £28.25 for Levonelle emergency contraceptive and £26.75 for their own version. In comparison to Tesco who charge £13.50 for Levonelle and Superdrug £13.49.
But, it’s upsetting to know that, if there was not such an intense reaction from the public – and people calling for a boycott, Boots would have never had any intentions of lowering the price of the emergency contraception. Is it a little too late for an apology?
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