Boots has responded after one of its Black Friday offers prompted fierce backlash.
The high street chain announced a 'special' Black Friday deal offering 50% off the normal price of the emergency contraceptive pill, commonly known as the morning after pill.
This offer meant the prices of certain pills were slashed, including the Levonelle tablet which was reduced to £14.12 instead of £28.25 and Levonorgestral costing £8 instead of £15.99.
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But Boots was criticised for the move, with the "sexist surcharge" on emergency contraception also prompting an outcry among some MPs.
The pills have since been put back up to the original price.
Campaigners and Labour MPs urged Boots not to restore the full price of its emergency contraception when the “Black Friday” discount expires.
Dame Diana Johnson MP said: "It is extremely disappointing that high-street giants continue to impose a sexist surcharge on emergency contraception. Boots has an opportunity to lead the way and demonstrate a clear commitment to improving women’s reproductive health and wellbeing. Alongside the women of the Parliamentary Labour Party, I implore Boots to do so.”
Clare Murphy, Chief Executive of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, said: “At BPAS, we regularly see women experiencing an unplanned pregnancy who were deterred from using emergency contraception because of the obstacles to access, including the price.
“The current offer from Boots, and the fact a much smaller online retailer is able to sell the same medication for less than £4, shows that it is entirely possible for big pharmacy chains to make emergency contraception much more affordable.
“It is wrong that a woman in need of emergency contraception this time next week will be forced to pay double the price compared with a woman who needs this medication today.
"This essential medication should be available, affordable, and accessible for everyone who needs it. We urge Boots to do the right thing and not double the cost once their arbitrary “Black Friday” discount expires."
Boots has since responded to criticism and said their prices are 'in line with other high street pharmacies'.
A spokesperson said: “This Black Friday promotion that ran on our Online Doctor hub was 50% off all men’s and women’s private healthcare services.
“We sometimes offer short term promotions in order to raise awareness of certain services but it is not usually possible to sustain significant discounts in the long term.
“Our pricing model takes into account the expert clinical advice and consultation that we give with these services and the prices are in line with other high street pharmacies.
“The morning after pill is available for free in many NHS settings, including in Boots pharmacies that have been commissioned by local NHS CCGs to provide such a service.”
Emergency contraception is available for free from GPs and sexual health clinics.
BPAS claimed Boots offering the discount "demonstrates that lowering the cost is entirely possible".
In 2017 Superdrug reduced the price of emergency contraception, and other high-street pharmacies followed.
Boots, however, initially refused to lower the cost because it claimed doing so would “encourage inappropriate use”, and only changed its position after an intervention by Labour MPs.
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