Boots reduces EHC costs dramatically after long-running campaign
Boots has said it will sell a generic morning after pill at a significantly reduced price following a long-running campaign by charities, activists and politicians.
In a recent letter to Labour MP Diana Johnson, Boots UK managing director Seb James said the multiple was slashing the cost of its generic levonorgestrel 1.5mg from £15.99 to £10.
The EHC prices charged by high street pharmacies such as Boots have been highly controversial for a number of years, with a Boots Black Friday deal last November sparking calls once more to offer the morning after pill at a lower cost to patients.
The price reduction brings Boots in line with rivals Superdrug and LloydsPharmacy, which charge £9.99 and £10 respectively for their generic versions.
Some online-only providers have much lower prices, with Chemist4U listing an EHC product at £3.49.
The company says the move, effective as of February 1, will help widen access to emergency hormonal contraception, adding: “Our priority remains offering the highest standard of care to women, and we will continue to provide our expert pharmacy consultation and advice as an integral part of this service to support women in making the right choice for them.
“The morning after pill remains free on the NHS and in areas where a CCG has commissioned Boots to provide a morning after pill service on behalf of the NHS in England, the service is free.”
Ms Johnson welcomed the company’s decision to “scrap the sexist surcharge” on EHC, pointing to research showing that more women in England are finding it hard to access contraception on the NHS.
“Over the counter contraception is increasingly the only option women have access to,” she said.“It is critical that any obstacles to accessing contraception are addressed and that the sexual and reproductive health of women is protected.”
This was echoed by British Pregnancy Advisory Service chief executive Clare Murphy, who welcomed the move but urged pharmacies to go further: “Now that the price has been reduced, we want to see emergency contraception taken out from behind the pharmacy counter and placed directly on the shelves where it belongs.”
“The high cost and clinically unnecessary requirement for a mandatory consultation can act as barriers that prevent women accessing emergency contraception when needed,” said Ms Murphy.