Boots to sell lower cost emergency contraceptive

Modesto Morganelli
Settembre 1, 2017

Boots has accused a pregnancy charity of encouraging the "harassment" of its senior employees in a dispute over the cost of its morning-after pills.

Bpas received a legal warning earlier in August from Schillings LLP, the global reputation consultancy who previously handled the Ryan Giggs super-injunction, on behalf of Boots, after the response to their "Just Say Non" campaign for affordable emergency contraception.

Bpas is an independent charity with 70 reproductive healthcare clinics across the country.

Boots, the United Kingdom pharmacy chain, has announced it will sell a lower cost version of the emergency contraceptive pill throughout its chain of stores across the country, which has been welcomed by the charity British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) and consumer group SumOfUs.

But BPAS and its supporters said it was essential to allow women to get affordable contraception when they needed it. Tesco and Superdrug this summer agreed to halve the cost from around £30 to £13.49, but Boots initially said it would not do so to avoid "incentivising inappropriate use".

Boots insists it was not seeking to stifle public debate over the issue of emergency contraception and had no problems with emails being sent to its customer services department.

Boots has also now committed to selling the drug for the lower price of £15.99 following a roll out to 38 stores 4 weeks ago.

After "working hard with the manufacturer to increase supply", the generic version will be available across all 2,500 Boots stores in the United Kingdom in October, the health and beauty giant added.

A template on the campaign website previously included the names of five senior Boots employees for emails to be addressed to. Four of these names were removed after the initial apology.

Boots' legal letter alleges a torrent of personal abuse was directed at ITS employees as a result of the campaign, according to BPAS.

BPAS's lobbying campaign, prompted by the much cheaper pricing of the morning-after pill overseas than in the United Kingdom, encouraged supporters to email Boots over its stance. "We support and congratulate the work of BPAS as well SumOfUs members who mobilised in the thousands to secure this victory for women". Boots has said some of the emails received by these individuals has been "abusive".

It said: "The letter demands BPAS ceases their campaign in its current form".

The response led some Labour MPs to say Boots had taken an "unacceptable" moral position, while Clare Murphy of BPAS added: "Women struggle to access emergency contraception and the cost is a key barrier".

A spokesperson for Boots said: "As a responsible employer, we actively seek to protect our colleagues from abuse and harassment". In our legal letter to Bpas we made it very clear that we welcome the debate on the provision of EHC, and respect their right to raise this issue with us. We asked them simply to remove personal email details from their campaign widget and to agree not to encourage personal abuse of our people.

'We provided examples of where our employees have received abuse by email and social media in response to BPAS's campaign.

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