Boots’s failure to keep its pledge to reduce the price of contraceptive pills is “absolutely scandalous” according to the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS).
A campaign spearheaded by BPAS in July revealed that women in Britain pay five-times that of their European counterparts for morning-after-pills, and called on British retailers to slash their prices which Boots’s rivals Superdrug and Tesco did.
Boots UK‘s chief pharmacist Marc Donovan responded to the BPAS campaign stating that he would not lower the price as he didn’t want to be accused of “incentivising inappropriate use”. Following a major public backlash, Boots committed to dropping its prices.
However, a letter sent to Boots last month signed by more than 130 MPs criticised the retailer for rolling out the price cuts in just three per cent of its stores.
It was revealed yesterday that the number remained the same over a month later, leading BPAS to brand its efforts “pathetically slow”.
“There can be absolutely no excuse for their pathetically slow pace of progress, other than the fact that they simply do not want to provide women with an affordable product,” a BPAS spokesperson stated.
Boots responded to the MPs letter stating that it remained committed to rolling the service out nationally, and the delay was due to a “batch failure” due to quality issues which meant expected stock was not unavailable.
BPAS hit back at the statement saying: “If Boots cannot source a new version of emergency contraception to sell at a lower price, then they should do the right thing and cut the price of the version they currently have in stock.
“Regardless of supply chain delays, affordable emergency contraception is entirely within their gift to give right now – and every day they refuse to do so, more women are being ripped off, or risking an unplanned pregnancy because they cannot afford Boots’ inflated price tag.”
Following last month’s criticism, Boots added: “In July we launched an extended over-the-counter EHC service which includes the generic levonorgestrel in 38 Boots stores in the East Midlands.
“We’re pleased to confirm that we have now been able to roll this out to a further 31 stores, taking the total number of Boots stores offering the service to 69.”