After years of campaigning by healthcare bodies and MPs to end the ‘grossly sexist surcharge,’ the British pharmacy chain has finally lowered the price of the morning after pill.
On Black Friday last year, British pharmacy chain Boots slashed the cost of emergency contraception, giving it a 50 per cent discount.
The deal, which was brought to people’s attention by a tweet and unsurprisingly met with substantial backlash for blatantly capitalising on women’s health, prompted the launch of a campaign to make the morning after pill more affordable and accessible to all.
It came on the back of years of criticism towards the exorbitant prices charged by retailers for this medication, which is meant to be taken after unprotected sex to try to prevent a pregnancy.
When basic healthcare meets capitalism. pic.twitter.com/w2OPtj7RhB
— Rose Stokes (@RoseStokes) November 26, 2021
Unfortunately, though the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) and Labour MPs urged Boots not to restore the original price from £8 to between £15.99 and £56.50 once the sale ended, their calls for change were ignored on the condescending basis that doing so would ‘encourage inappropriate use.’
A kick in the teeth in light of the clear evidence of the staggering mark-up of a drug that costs just £2 to manufacture and the fact that big pharmacies can offer cheaper products when it’s in their own interests.
This only further motivated campaigners on a mission to do away with the ‘grossly sexist surcharge on something that women alone need,’ however, and three months later Boots has finally agreed to lower the cost of emergency contraception online and in store.
The fact that Boots can offer a 50% discount for "Black Friday" demonstrates how much profit margin there is on emergency contraception.
There is no excuse for Boots to double the price once this "offer" runs out. 🧵 pic.twitter.com/tfeQzxDYZm
— BPAS (@BPAS1968) November 26, 2021
As of this week, it will be sold for £10, making it the most affordable option on the UK high street, even with Superdrug’s recent decision to follow suit.
‘Emergency contraception is a vital component of women’s healthcare and provides them with a safety net by preventing unwanted pregnancies yet the high-cost and clinically unnecessary requirement for a mandatory consultation can act as barriers that prevent them from accessing it when needed,’ says MP Diana Johnson, who led the campaign.
‘It is critical that any obstacles to accessing contraception are addressed and that the sexual and reproductive health of women is protected.’