He says the high price will keep women from using it “inappropriately.”
Photo by Cory Doctorow/Flickr.
For the past year, British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) has been waging a campaign called “Just Say Non” to get pharmaceutical companies to reduce the cost of the morning-after pill in the U.K., where the medication costs £30 — around $40. In the U.S., women pay about $50 for a single pill. (According to BuzzFeed News, generic versions of the drug cost only £2 wholesale.)
While some retailers have been receptive — U.K. companies Tesco and Superdrug cut their prices in half — one U.S.-owned drugstore brand is not only digging in its heels, but is facing sharp criticism for comments its chief pharmacist made in a letter to BPAS. In his statement, Boots pharmacist Marc Donovan told BPAS that reducing the cost of the morning-after pill would encourage women to misuse it.
“We would not want to be accused of incentivising inappropriate use, and provoking complaints, by significantly reducing the price of this product,” he wrote.
Clare Murphy, the director of external affairs at BPAS, fired back, labeling Donovan’s comments as “patronizing and insulting.”
“There is no doubt about it: the high price of [emergency contraception] is an absolute barrier to women’s access to this product and puts women needlessly at risk of unwanted pregnancy,” she told The Guardian.
BPAS says Boots’ overpricing amounts to a “sexist surcharge” for women.
Many women experience adverse side effects when taking the morning-after pill — among them, heavy bleeding and stomach cramps. For some women over a certain weight, there’s a chance the pill won’t work at all.