Boots is facing a boycott after refusing to drop the price of emergency contraceptive pills, citing fears it would encourage “inappropriate” use.
Following a campaign from the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) in which it was revealed British women pay five times more than women in Europe, both Tesco and Superdrug have halved the price of their morning-after-pills.
In response to the campaign, Boots refused to slash prices. stating it didn’t want to be accused of “incentivising inappropriate use”.
Boots UK’s chief pharmacist Marc Donovan responded to the BPAS campaign in a letter seen by The Guardian, in which he points out that the pills are already available for free in community pharmacies.
Raising the price of condoms in line with this policy? Boycott Boots
— Sallie McNamara (@Salliejulia) July 21, 2017
The letter read: “In our experience the subject of 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 incentivising inappropriate use, and provoking complaints, by significantly reducing the price of this product.”
— Sophie Walker (@SophieRunning) July 21, 2017
The decision has met with a storm of controversy on social media and in the press.
The leader of the Women’s Equality Party Sophie Walker, alongside BPAS, have called for a boycott of the retailer.
“Many women will need to buy these pills over the counter, and it is irresponsible and exploitative for retailers to charge over the odds for the,” she said.
“Boots’ approach to this concern is indicative of a society that prioritises profit over women’s health and wellbeing.”
Boots currently charges £28.25 for a leading brand of the pill, as well as £26.75 for its own-brand version.
Tesco now charges £13.50 for the same leading brand, and Superdrug £13.49 for its own-brand.
The pill are available in France for the equivalent of £5.50.