UK chemist Boots has apologised for its comments over the “sexist surcharge” on the morning-after pill, after saying it was avoiding “incentivising inappropriate use” by keeping the price high.
The chain was urged yesterday to drop the price of the emergency contraceptive by the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), but claimed it was afraid of a public backlash.
This morning, the company "sincerely" apologised for its "poor choice of words", and said it would look or cheaper alternatives to the brands it sells.
"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," said BPAS's Clare Murphy.
But Sophie Walker, leader of the Women’s Equality Party, said this morning:
There is no need to seek cheaper alternatives: Levonelle costs a fraction of its current £30 retail price to produce and efficacy should be the main driver here.
Boots charges £28.25 for Levonelle emergency contraceptive and £26.75 for its own generic version, as opposed to Tesco which charges £13.50 for Levonelle and Superdrug where the price is £13.49 for a generic version.
Superdrug and Tesco reduced their price tags after BPAS wrote to the companies, but Boots initially refused to follow suit.
The share price of Walgreen Boots, Boots' US parent company, ended the day down 1.13 per cent yesterday and was down a further 0.38 per cent at the time of writing in after-hours trading.
The attention focused on Boots' pricing comes after BPAS and the Women's Equality Party launched a Twitter campaign yesterday, under the hashtag “JustSayNon”.
Social media users posted in support of the motion, with tweeters doubting that Boots would have come to a similar conclusion if its chief pharmacist was female.
Others said they would be boycotting the nationwide chain for another alternative.