Tag Archives: apologises

Sussex health trust apologises for failings before death of student

A health trust has apologised “unreservedly” for failings in the case of a 21-year-old student whose body was found in a burnt-out car after she absconded from a mental health ward.

How Janet Müller, a German national in her final year at Brighton University, ended up in the boot of a torched Volkswagen Jetta is a mystery. She died from inhalation of fire fumes within hours of going missing. Christopher Jeffrey-Shaw, 27, was convicted of manslaughter and imprisoned for 17 years.

Speaking publicly about the young woman’s death for the first time, her mother, Ramona Müller, 47, said she blamed Sussex Partnership NHS foundation trust for errors that led to her “bright, intelligent and beautiful” twin daughter being able to abscond from Mill View hospital in Hove, twice in one day before her death.

It was not the first time a patient had climbed over an 8ft garden wall and it was a known awol risk, her mother said. “It’s just the first time it ended that badly,” said Müller, who raised Janet and twin sister, Selina, in Berlin.

She had allowed her daughters to come to the UK “because I thought it was safe there. They wanted to do it for their education. So, I tried my best to make it possible for them. I raised them on my own. And then, finally, someone just comes along and takes her life.”

Müller, who was studying international event management, had no previous mental illness but became unwell ahead of her final exams in March 2015, and was admitted to the hospital 10 days before her death.

Her twin, who was studying at Kent University, visited her there and reported her to be agitated and desperate to leave. Her mother said she begged staff to allow Janet home to Germany, or allow her to visit or speak to her. “I tried to call a million times, I tried to speak to Janet.” But, she says she was always reassured: “Janet is fine, she is safe, don’t worry,” and was told her daughter could soon be transferred to a hospital near home in Germany. She never managed to speak to her before her death.

Janet first absconded from the female-only ward on the morning of 12 March 2015, and was found by a farmer in a field and returned by police.

She absconded again later that night and is thought to have gone over the wall, the inquest heard. CCTV footage showed her walking in the early hours of 13 March in Brighton. Her body was found in the car near Ifield golf club near Horsham in West Sussex.

When she learned her daughter was missing, Müller, a paramedic and teacher at a school in Berlin, flew to the UK to search for her. She was met at Eastbourne station by Selina. “I told her: ‘Don’t worry. We will find her.’ And she said to me: ‘Mama. They’ve found her. She’s dead.’”

The family have no idea how she came to be in the car. She had been severely beaten before being burned alive. An inquest found she died from fire fumes inhalation. She had no known connections to Jeffrey-Shaw. “There are so many unanswered questions. Why did she end up with him, not knowing him at all?” said her mother.

Jeffrey-Shaw, who has previous convictions for blackmail and harassment, was charged and convicted of manslaughter at Guildford crown court, but his trial yielded no answers. He admitted setting the car alight, but claimed he did not know the student was in the boot. He told the court he had been involved with drug dealers who borrowed his hire car for a robbery which went wrong and who ordered him to torch it.

The judge, rejecting his account, said the only reason he was not guilty of murder, “is because you did not have the human decency to check if the person in the boot of your car was dead or alive”.

An inquest jury, which agreed a verdict of unlawful killing, found lack of communication between healthcare staff, insufficient records and inadequate risk assessment were contributory, with no extra measures taken after she first absconded, and staff shortages and building works also factors.

Janet’s mother and sister have settled with the trust after issuing a civil claim under the Human Rights Act.

Sam Allen, the trust’s chief executive, admitted: “We failed in our duty of care to Janet, for which I am truly sorry.”

In a public apology, she said: “I want to give my personal assurance that we have worked hard to address the shortcomings identified following Janet’s tragic, untimely death.

“Words of apology from me cannot bring Janet back. The awful events that happened after she absconded from our care will forever be borne by her family.”

Janet’s mother said it had been “a long, hard fight” to get the trust to admit its mistakes, but she had been determined “to get justice for Janet, to force them to make changes, to speak out. Janet’s voice has to be heard, and things should not and must not happen again.”

The family had been devastated by Janet’s death, her mother said. Janet’s sister had abandoned her studies in UK. Once part of a close threesome, both feel responsible for not having done enough to save Janet, she said.

She hoped now the same mistakes could not be repeated. “For us it is too late. Nothing can change what happened to us. Janet will not come back. No apology, nothing, can do that. It’s all too late,” she said.

Boots apologises over morning-after pill pricing row

Boots has said it is “truly sorry” for the way it responded to a campaign calling for it to cut the price of emergency contraception and said it is looking for cheaper alternatives.

The announcement, late on Friday night, came after news that the women’s parliamentary Labour party (PLP) had written to the store’s chief pharmacist to express “deep concern” about the company’s refusal to reduce the price of emergency contraception, and as calls for a boycott continue to grow.

Boots had said on Thursday it would not lower the cost of the morning-after pill despite a campaign from the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), a leading provider of abortion care, with its chief pharmacist, Marc Donovan, stating that the company did not want to be accused of “incentivising inappropriate use”.

Campaigners said the statement was insulting and sexist, and on Friday Anna Soubry, the Conservative MP for Broxtowe – where the Boots headquarters is located – said she was also writing a letter to the company asking it to make clear its reasons for not reducing prices.

Jess Phillips (@jessphillips)

Labour women join @bpas1968 in their campaign to demand @BootsUK rethink moral judgements and sheepish assertions on emergency contraceptive pic.twitter.com/y5N670TQ4I

July 21, 2017

The Labour letter, signed by the chair of the women’s parliamentary Labour party, Jess Phillips, as well as a number of prominent MPs including Harriet Harman, Yvette Cooper and Rachel Reeves, said: “Boots is the largest high-street pharmacy in the UK, and 90% of the population lives within 10 minutes of one of their shops.

“It is therefore completely unacceptable that British women have been paying up to £30 for a pill that costs a fraction of that to produce. The high cost of emergency contraception at Boots is preventing women from accessing it when needed.”

Both Tesco and Superdrug halved the price of their emergency contraceptive following the BPAS campaign, but Boots continues to charge £28.25 for Levonelle emergency contraceptive (the leading brand) and £26.75 for its own generic version. Tesco now charges £13.50 for Levonelle and Superdrug £13.49 for a generic version. In France, the tablet costs £5.50.

bpas (@bpas1968)

This is why Boots refuse to reduce the price of emergency contraception. Angry? Email @BootsUK now: https://t.co/g8NW8VAHX3 #JustSayNon pic.twitter.com/ohk3GBkBJs

July 20, 2017

“Boots’ justification infantalises women and places a moral judgment on them,” Phillips told the Guardian. “Their pricing is clearly for commercial gain as Tesco and Superdrug have addressed this issue with sensible pricing.

“Women do not need to be disincentivised by Boots to make personal choices about their bodies. We women go to Boots for our products, not moral guidance. Public opinion is not on their side so if they are worried about complaints they are listening to the wrong voices and customers should vote with their feet.”

Phillips said she did not believe Boots “would ever pass moral judgment on men’s contraceptives”. “Do they give a lecture on consent with all condom purchases?” she said.

In a recent YouGov survey, the median cost suggested by women for emergency contraception was £8, and the median cost suggested by men was £5. Almost a third of women and a quarter of men, the Labour letter added, believed emergency contraception should be free of charge.

“Concern about adverse criticism from pressure groups seems a very strange reason not to do the right thing,” Soubry said. “This is perfectly proper and lawful treatment. I’ve always found Boots to be an excellent business company, they employ a lot of people in my constituency, they are a valued employer and they’ve always had a strong desire to do the right thing throughout the whole of their long history. So not doing this doesn’t sit with the way Boots normally operates and the high standing it has locally.

“I would hope that they would be true to their tradition of doing the right thing, and doing the right thing is not giving in to pressure from the noisiest quarters. I am asking them for what reasons they are not reducing the cost of the morning-after pill given that other companies have reduced the charge. I urge them to reduce prices in accordance with their competitors.”

The MP Stella Creasy tweeted that Boots’ decision “contravenes consumer rights act given adds disproportionate charge which is not advertised”, while the writer Marian Keyes was among those condemning the company on Twitter, saying she would be “withdrawing my (considerable) custom”.

stellacreasy (@stellacreasy)

This is awful @BootsUK @BootsHelp & also contravenes consumer rights act given adds disproportionate charge which is not advertised.. https://t.co/DAvDiN1hAq

July 21, 2017

Announcing the retailer’s change of stance on Friday night, a spokesman for Boots said: “Pharmacy and care for customers are at the heart of everything we do, and as such we are truly sorry that our poor choice of words in describing our position on emergency hormonal contraception has caused offence and misunderstanding, and we sincerely apologise.”

In his original response to campaigners, Donovan said that Boots considered the issue very carefully but pointed out that the morning-after pill is already available for free in community pharmacies and NHS services.

Sophie Walker, leader of the Women’s Equality party, which had joined forces with BPAS to call for a boycott using the hashtag #justsaynon, said that the morning-after pill can be difficult to access for free on the NHS, with appointments at GP surgeries or family planning clinics hard to obtain at short notice.

“Many women will need to buy these pills over the counter, and it is irresponsible and exploitative for retailers to charge over the odds for them … Boots’ approach to this concern is indicative of a society that prioritises profit over women’s health and wellbeing,” Walker said.

Ann Clwyd MP, co-chair of the all-party parliamentary group on sexual and reproductive health, said: “Boots need to wise up. The reality is there are too many unwanted births. How come the tablets are available in France for £5.50? A case of Boots’ profit priority, I would say.”

Boots apologises over morning-after pill pricing row

Boots has said it is “truly sorry” for the way it responded to a campaign calling for it to cut the price of emergency contraception and said it is looking for cheaper alternatives.

The announcement, late on Friday night, came after news that the women’s parliamentary Labour party (PLP) had written to the store’s chief pharmacist to express “deep concern” about the company’s refusal to reduce the price of emergency contraception, and as calls for a boycott continue to grow.

Boots had said on Thursday it would not lower the cost of the morning-after pill despite a campaign from the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), a leading provider of abortion care, with its chief pharmacist, Marc Donovan, stating that the company did not want to be accused of “incentivising inappropriate use”.

Campaigners said the statement was insulting and sexist, and on Friday Anna Soubry, the Conservative MP for Broxtowe – where the Boots headquarters is located – said she was also writing a letter to the company asking it to make clear its reasons for not reducing prices.

Jess Phillips (@jessphillips)

Labour women join @bpas1968 in their campaign to demand @BootsUK rethink moral judgements and sheepish assertions on emergency contraceptive pic.twitter.com/y5N670TQ4I

July 21, 2017

The Labour letter, signed by the chair of the women’s parliamentary Labour party, Jess Phillips, as well as a number of prominent MPs including Harriet Harman, Yvette Cooper and Rachel Reeves, said: “Boots is the largest high-street pharmacy in the UK, and 90% of the population lives within 10 minutes of one of their shops.

“It is therefore completely unacceptable that British women have been paying up to £30 for a pill that costs a fraction of that to produce. The high cost of emergency contraception at Boots is preventing women from accessing it when needed.”

Both Tesco and Superdrug halved the price of their emergency contraceptive following the BPAS campaign, but Boots continues to charge £28.25 for Levonelle emergency contraceptive (the leading brand) and £26.75 for its own generic version. Tesco now charges £13.50 for Levonelle and Superdrug £13.49 for a generic version. In France, the tablet costs £5.50.

bpas (@bpas1968)

This is why Boots refuse to reduce the price of emergency contraception. Angry? Email @BootsUK now: https://t.co/g8NW8VAHX3 #JustSayNon pic.twitter.com/ohk3GBkBJs

July 20, 2017

“Boots’ justification infantalises women and places a moral judgment on them,” Phillips told the Guardian. “Their pricing is clearly for commercial gain as Tesco and Superdrug have addressed this issue with sensible pricing.

“Women do not need to be disincentivised by Boots to make personal choices about their bodies. We women go to Boots for our products, not moral guidance. Public opinion is not on their side so if they are worried about complaints they are listening to the wrong voices and customers should vote with their feet.”

Phillips said she did not believe Boots “would ever pass moral judgment on men’s contraceptives”. “Do they give a lecture on consent with all condom purchases?” she said.

In a recent YouGov survey, the median cost suggested by women for emergency contraception was £8, and the median cost suggested by men was £5. Almost a third of women and a quarter of men, the Labour letter added, believed emergency contraception should be free of charge.

“Concern about adverse criticism from pressure groups seems a very strange reason not to do the right thing,” Soubry said. “This is perfectly proper and lawful treatment. I’ve always found Boots to be an excellent business company, they employ a lot of people in my constituency, they are a valued employer and they’ve always had a strong desire to do the right thing throughout the whole of their long history. So not doing this doesn’t sit with the way Boots normally operates and the high standing it has locally.

“I would hope that they would be true to their tradition of doing the right thing, and doing the right thing is not giving in to pressure from the noisiest quarters. I am asking them for what reasons they are not reducing the cost of the morning-after pill given that other companies have reduced the charge. I urge them to reduce prices in accordance with their competitors.”

The MP Stella Creasy tweeted that Boots’ decision “contravenes consumer rights act given adds disproportionate charge which is not advertised”, while the writer Marian Keyes was among those condemning the company on Twitter, saying she would be “withdrawing my (considerable) custom”.

stellacreasy (@stellacreasy)

This is awful @BootsUK @BootsHelp & also contravenes consumer rights act given adds disproportionate charge which is not advertised.. https://t.co/DAvDiN1hAq

July 21, 2017

Announcing the retailer’s change of stance on Friday night, a spokesman for Boots said: “Pharmacy and care for customers are at the heart of everything we do, and as such we are truly sorry that our poor choice of words in describing our position on emergency hormonal contraception has caused offence and misunderstanding, and we sincerely apologise.”

In his original response to campaigners, Donovan said that Boots considered the issue very carefully but pointed out that the morning-after pill is already available for free in community pharmacies and NHS services.

Sophie Walker, leader of the Women’s Equality party, which had joined forces with BPAS to call for a boycott using the hashtag #justsaynon, said that the morning-after pill can be difficult to access for free on the NHS, with appointments at GP surgeries or family planning clinics hard to obtain at short notice.

“Many women will need to buy these pills over the counter, and it is irresponsible and exploitative for retailers to charge over the odds for them … Boots’ approach to this concern is indicative of a society that prioritises profit over women’s health and wellbeing,” Walker said.

Ann Clwyd MP, co-chair of the all-party parliamentary group on sexual and reproductive health, said: “Boots need to wise up. The reality is there are too many unwanted births. How come the tablets are available in France for £5.50? A case of Boots’ profit priority, I would say.”

Boots apologises over morning-after pill pricing row

Boots has said it is “truly sorry” for the way it responded to a campaign calling for it to cut the price of emergency contraception and said it is looking for cheaper alternatives.

The announcement, late on Friday night, came after news that the women’s parliamentary Labour party (PLP) had written to the store’s chief pharmacist to express “deep concern” about the company’s refusal to reduce the price of emergency contraception, and as calls for a boycott continue to grow.

Boots had said on Thursday it would not lower the cost of the morning-after pill despite a campaign from the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), a leading provider of abortion care, with its chief pharmacist, Marc Donovan, stating that the company did not want to be accused of “incentivising inappropriate use”.

Campaigners said the statement was insulting and sexist, and on Friday Anna Soubry, the Conservative MP for Broxtowe – where the Boots headquarters is located – said she was also writing a letter to the company asking it to make clear its reasons for not reducing prices.

Jess Phillips (@jessphillips)

Labour women join @bpas1968 in their campaign to demand @BootsUK rethink moral judgements and sheepish assertions on emergency contraceptive pic.twitter.com/y5N670TQ4I

July 21, 2017

The Labour letter, signed by the chair of the women’s parliamentary Labour party, Jess Phillips, as well as a number of prominent MPs including Harriet Harman, Yvette Cooper and Rachel Reeves, said: “Boots is the largest high-street pharmacy in the UK, and 90% of the population lives within 10 minutes of one of their shops.

“It is therefore completely unacceptable that British women have been paying up to £30 for a pill that costs a fraction of that to produce. The high cost of emergency contraception at Boots is preventing women from accessing it when needed.”

Both Tesco and Superdrug halved the price of their emergency contraceptive following the BPAS campaign, but Boots continues to charge £28.25 for Levonelle emergency contraceptive (the leading brand) and £26.75 for its own generic version. Tesco now charges £13.50 for Levonelle and Superdrug £13.49 for a generic version. In France, the tablet costs £5.50.

bpas (@bpas1968)

This is why Boots refuse to reduce the price of emergency contraception. Angry? Email @BootsUK now: https://t.co/g8NW8VAHX3 #JustSayNon pic.twitter.com/ohk3GBkBJs

July 20, 2017

“Boots’ justification infantalises women and places a moral judgment on them,” Phillips told the Guardian. “Their pricing is clearly for commercial gain as Tesco and Superdrug have addressed this issue with sensible pricing.

“Women do not need to be disincentivised by Boots to make personal choices about their bodies. We women go to Boots for our products, not moral guidance. Public opinion is not on their side so if they are worried about complaints they are listening to the wrong voices and customers should vote with their feet.”

Phillips said she did not believe Boots “would ever pass moral judgment on men’s contraceptives”. “Do they give a lecture on consent with all condom purchases?” she said.

In a recent YouGov survey, the median cost suggested by women for emergency contraception was £8, and the median cost suggested by men was £5. Almost a third of women and a quarter of men, the Labour letter added, believed emergency contraception should be free of charge.

“Concern about adverse criticism from pressure groups seems a very strange reason not to do the right thing,” Soubry said. “This is perfectly proper and lawful treatment. I’ve always found Boots to be an excellent business company, they employ a lot of people in my constituency, they are a valued employer and they’ve always had a strong desire to do the right thing throughout the whole of their long history. So not doing this doesn’t sit with the way Boots normally operates and the high standing it has locally.

“I would hope that they would be true to their tradition of doing the right thing, and doing the right thing is not giving in to pressure from the noisiest quarters. I am asking them for what reasons they are not reducing the cost of the morning-after pill given that other companies have reduced the charge. I urge them to reduce prices in accordance with their competitors.”

The MP Stella Creasy tweeted that Boots’ decision “contravenes consumer rights act given adds disproportionate charge which is not advertised”, while the writer Marian Keyes was among those condemning the company on Twitter, saying she would be “withdrawing my (considerable) custom”.

stellacreasy (@stellacreasy)

This is awful @BootsUK @BootsHelp & also contravenes consumer rights act given adds disproportionate charge which is not advertised.. https://t.co/DAvDiN1hAq

July 21, 2017

Announcing the retailer’s change of stance on Friday night, a spokesman for Boots said: “Pharmacy and care for customers are at the heart of everything we do, and as such we are truly sorry that our poor choice of words in describing our position on emergency hormonal contraception has caused offence and misunderstanding, and we sincerely apologise.”

In his original response to campaigners, Donovan said that Boots considered the issue very carefully but pointed out that the morning-after pill is already available for free in community pharmacies and NHS services.

Sophie Walker, leader of the Women’s Equality party, which had joined forces with BPAS to call for a boycott using the hashtag #justsaynon, said that the morning-after pill can be difficult to access for free on the NHS, with appointments at GP surgeries or family planning clinics hard to obtain at short notice.

“Many women will need to buy these pills over the counter, and it is irresponsible and exploitative for retailers to charge over the odds for them … Boots’ approach to this concern is indicative of a society that prioritises profit over women’s health and wellbeing,” Walker said.

Ann Clwyd MP, co-chair of the all-party parliamentary group on sexual and reproductive health, said: “Boots need to wise up. The reality is there are too many unwanted births. How come the tablets are available in France for £5.50? A case of Boots’ profit priority, I would say.”

Boots apologises over morning-after pill pricing row

Boots has said it is “truly sorry” for the way it responded to a campaign calling for it to cut the price of emergency contraception and said it is looking for cheaper alternatives.

The announcement, late on Friday night, came after news that the women’s parliamentary Labour party (PLP) had written to the store’s chief pharmacist to express “deep concern” about the company’s refusal to reduce the price of emergency contraception, and as calls for a boycott continue to grow.

Boots had said on Thursday it would not lower the cost of the morning-after pill despite a campaign from the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), a leading provider of abortion care, with its chief pharmacist, Marc Donovan, stating that the company did not want to be accused of “incentivising inappropriate use”.

Campaigners said the statement was insulting and sexist, and on Friday Anna Soubry, the Conservative MP for Broxtowe – where the Boots headquarters is located – said she was also writing a letter to the company asking it to make clear its reasons for not reducing prices.

Jess Phillips (@jessphillips)

Labour women join @bpas1968 in their campaign to demand @BootsUK rethink moral judgements and sheepish assertions on emergency contraceptive pic.twitter.com/y5N670TQ4I

July 21, 2017

The Labour letter, signed by the chair of the women’s parliamentary Labour party, Jess Phillips, as well as a number of prominent MPs including Harriet Harman, Yvette Cooper and Rachel Reeves, said: “Boots is the largest high-street pharmacy in the UK, and 90% of the population lives within 10 minutes of one of their shops.

“It is therefore completely unacceptable that British women have been paying up to £30 for a pill that costs a fraction of that to produce. The high cost of emergency contraception at Boots is preventing women from accessing it when needed.”

Both Tesco and Superdrug halved the price of their emergency contraceptive following the BPAS campaign, but Boots continues to charge £28.25 for Levonelle emergency contraceptive (the leading brand) and £26.75 for its own generic version. Tesco now charges £13.50 for Levonelle and Superdrug £13.49 for a generic version. In France, the tablet costs £5.50.

bpas (@bpas1968)

This is why Boots refuse to reduce the price of emergency contraception. Angry? Email @BootsUK now: https://t.co/g8NW8VAHX3 #JustSayNon pic.twitter.com/ohk3GBkBJs

July 20, 2017

“Boots’ justification infantalises women and places a moral judgment on them,” Phillips told the Guardian. “Their pricing is clearly for commercial gain as Tesco and Superdrug have addressed this issue with sensible pricing.

“Women do not need to be disincentivised by Boots to make personal choices about their bodies. We women go to Boots for our products, not moral guidance. Public opinion is not on their side so if they are worried about complaints they are listening to the wrong voices and customers should vote with their feet.”

Phillips said she did not believe Boots “would ever pass moral judgment on men’s contraceptives”. “Do they give a lecture on consent with all condom purchases?” she said.

In a recent YouGov survey, the median cost suggested by women for emergency contraception was £8, and the median cost suggested by men was £5. Almost a third of women and a quarter of men, the Labour letter added, believed emergency contraception should be free of charge.

“Concern about adverse criticism from pressure groups seems a very strange reason not to do the right thing,” Soubry said. “This is perfectly proper and lawful treatment. I’ve always found Boots to be an excellent business company, they employ a lot of people in my constituency, they are a valued employer and they’ve always had a strong desire to do the right thing throughout the whole of their long history. So not doing this doesn’t sit with the way Boots normally operates and the high standing it has locally.

“I would hope that they would be true to their tradition of doing the right thing, and doing the right thing is not giving in to pressure from the noisiest quarters. I am asking them for what reasons they are not reducing the cost of the morning-after pill given that other companies have reduced the charge. I urge them to reduce prices in accordance with their competitors.”

The MP Stella Creasy tweeted that Boots’ decision “contravenes consumer rights act given adds disproportionate charge which is not advertised”, while the writer Marian Keyes was among those condemning the company on Twitter, saying she would be “withdrawing my (considerable) custom”.

stellacreasy (@stellacreasy)

This is awful @BootsUK @BootsHelp & also contravenes consumer rights act given adds disproportionate charge which is not advertised.. https://t.co/DAvDiN1hAq

July 21, 2017

Announcing the retailer’s change of stance on Friday night, a spokesman for Boots said: “Pharmacy and care for customers are at the heart of everything we do, and as such we are truly sorry that our poor choice of words in describing our position on emergency hormonal contraception has caused offence and misunderstanding, and we sincerely apologise.”

In his original response to campaigners, Donovan said that Boots considered the issue very carefully but pointed out that the morning-after pill is already available for free in community pharmacies and NHS services.

Sophie Walker, leader of the Women’s Equality party, which had joined forces with BPAS to call for a boycott using the hashtag #justsaynon, said that the morning-after pill can be difficult to access for free on the NHS, with appointments at GP surgeries or family planning clinics hard to obtain at short notice.

“Many women will need to buy these pills over the counter, and it is irresponsible and exploitative for retailers to charge over the odds for them … Boots’ approach to this concern is indicative of a society that prioritises profit over women’s health and wellbeing,” Walker said.

Ann Clwyd MP, co-chair of the all-party parliamentary group on sexual and reproductive health, said: “Boots need to wise up. The reality is there are too many unwanted births. How come the tablets are available in France for £5.50? A case of Boots’ profit priority, I would say.”

Boots apologises over morning-after pill pricing row

Boots has said it is “truly sorry” for the way it responded to a campaign calling for it to cut the price of emergency contraception and said it is looking for cheaper alternatives.

The announcement, late on Friday night, came after news that the women’s parliamentary Labour party (PLP) had written to the store’s chief pharmacist to express “deep concern” about the company’s refusal to reduce the price of emergency contraception, and as calls for a boycott continue to grow.

Boots had said on Thursday it would not lower the cost of the morning-after pill despite a campaign from the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), a leading provider of abortion care, with its chief pharmacist, Marc Donovan, stating that the company did not want to be accused of “incentivising inappropriate use”.

Campaigners said the statement was insulting and sexist, and on Friday Anna Soubry, the Conservative MP for Broxtowe – where the Boots headquarters is located – said she was also writing a letter to the company asking it to make clear its reasons for not reducing prices.

Jess Phillips (@jessphillips)

Labour women join @bpas1968 in their campaign to demand @BootsUK rethink moral judgements and sheepish assertions on emergency contraceptive pic.twitter.com/y5N670TQ4I

July 21, 2017

The Labour letter, signed by the chair of the women’s parliamentary Labour party, Jess Phillips, as well as a number of prominent MPs including Harriet Harman, Yvette Cooper and Rachel Reeves, said: “Boots is the largest high-street pharmacy in the UK, and 90% of the population lives within 10 minutes of one of their shops.

“It is therefore completely unacceptable that British women have been paying up to £30 for a pill that costs a fraction of that to produce. The high cost of emergency contraception at Boots is preventing women from accessing it when needed.”

Both Tesco and Superdrug halved the price of their emergency contraceptive following the BPAS campaign, but Boots continues to charge £28.25 for Levonelle emergency contraceptive (the leading brand) and £26.75 for its own generic version. Tesco now charges £13.50 for Levonelle and Superdrug £13.49 for a generic version. In France, the tablet costs £5.50.

bpas (@bpas1968)

This is why Boots refuse to reduce the price of emergency contraception. Angry? Email @BootsUK now: https://t.co/g8NW8VAHX3 #JustSayNon pic.twitter.com/ohk3GBkBJs

July 20, 2017

“Boots’ justification infantalises women and places a moral judgment on them,” Phillips told the Guardian. “Their pricing is clearly for commercial gain as Tesco and Superdrug have addressed this issue with sensible pricing.

“Women do not need to be disincentivised by Boots to make personal choices about their bodies. We women go to Boots for our products, not moral guidance. Public opinion is not on their side so if they are worried about complaints they are listening to the wrong voices and customers should vote with their feet.”

Phillips said she did not believe Boots “would ever pass moral judgment on men’s contraceptives”. “Do they give a lecture on consent with all condom purchases?” she said.

In a recent YouGov survey, the median cost suggested by women for emergency contraception was £8, and the median cost suggested by men was £5. Almost a third of women and a quarter of men, the Labour letter added, believed emergency contraception should be free of charge.

“Concern about adverse criticism from pressure groups seems a very strange reason not to do the right thing,” Soubry said. “This is perfectly proper and lawful treatment. I’ve always found Boots to be an excellent business company, they employ a lot of people in my constituency, they are a valued employer and they’ve always had a strong desire to do the right thing throughout the whole of their long history. So not doing this doesn’t sit with the way Boots normally operates and the high standing it has locally.

“I would hope that they would be true to their tradition of doing the right thing, and doing the right thing is not giving in to pressure from the noisiest quarters. I am asking them for what reasons they are not reducing the cost of the morning-after pill given that other companies have reduced the charge. I urge them to reduce prices in accordance with their competitors.”

The MP Stella Creasy tweeted that Boots’ decision “contravenes consumer rights act given adds disproportionate charge which is not advertised”, while the writer Marian Keyes was among those condemning the company on Twitter, saying she would be “withdrawing my (considerable) custom”.

stellacreasy (@stellacreasy)

This is awful @BootsUK @BootsHelp & also contravenes consumer rights act given adds disproportionate charge which is not advertised.. https://t.co/DAvDiN1hAq

July 21, 2017

Announcing the retailer’s change of stance on Friday night, a spokesman for Boots said: “Pharmacy and care for customers are at the heart of everything we do, and as such we are truly sorry that our poor choice of words in describing our position on emergency hormonal contraception has caused offence and misunderstanding, and we sincerely apologise.”

In his original response to campaigners, Donovan said that Boots considered the issue very carefully but pointed out that the morning-after pill is already available for free in community pharmacies and NHS services.

Sophie Walker, leader of the Women’s Equality party, which had joined forces with BPAS to call for a boycott using the hashtag #justsaynon, said that the morning-after pill can be difficult to access for free on the NHS, with appointments at GP surgeries or family planning clinics hard to obtain at short notice.

“Many women will need to buy these pills over the counter, and it is irresponsible and exploitative for retailers to charge over the odds for them … Boots’ approach to this concern is indicative of a society that prioritises profit over women’s health and wellbeing,” Walker said.

Ann Clwyd MP, co-chair of the all-party parliamentary group on sexual and reproductive health, said: “Boots need to wise up. The reality is there are too many unwanted births. How come the tablets are available in France for £5.50? A case of Boots’ profit priority, I would say.”

Boots apologises over morning-after pill pricing row

Boots has said it is “truly sorry” for the way it responded to a campaign calling for it to cut the price of emergency contraception and said it is looking for cheaper alternatives.

The announcement, late on Friday night, came after news that the women’s parliamentary Labour party (PLP) had written to the store’s chief pharmacist to express “deep concern” about the company’s refusal to reduce the price of emergency contraception, and as calls for a boycott continue to grow.

Boots had said on Thursday it would not lower the cost of the morning-after pill despite a campaign from the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), a leading provider of abortion care, with its chief pharmacist, Marc Donovan, stating that the company did not want to be accused of “incentivising inappropriate use”.

Campaigners said the statement was insulting and sexist, and on Friday Anna Soubry, the Conservative MP for Broxtowe – where the Boots headquarters is located – said she was also writing a letter to the company asking it to make clear its reasons for not reducing prices.

Jess Phillips (@jessphillips)

Labour women join @bpas1968 in their campaign to demand @BootsUK rethink moral judgements and sheepish assertions on emergency contraceptive pic.twitter.com/y5N670TQ4I

July 21, 2017

The Labour letter, signed by the chair of the women’s parliamentary Labour party, Jess Phillips, as well as a number of prominent MPs including Harriet Harman, Yvette Cooper and Rachel Reeves, said: “Boots is the largest high-street pharmacy in the UK, and 90% of the population lives within 10 minutes of one of their shops.

“It is therefore completely unacceptable that British women have been paying up to £30 for a pill that costs a fraction of that to produce. The high cost of emergency contraception at Boots is preventing women from accessing it when needed.”

Both Tesco and Superdrug halved the price of their emergency contraceptive following the BPAS campaign, but Boots continues to charge £28.25 for Levonelle emergency contraceptive (the leading brand) and £26.75 for its own generic version. Tesco now charges £13.50 for Levonelle and Superdrug £13.49 for a generic version. In France, the tablet costs £5.50.

bpas (@bpas1968)

This is why Boots refuse to reduce the price of emergency contraception. Angry? Email @BootsUK now: https://t.co/g8NW8VAHX3 #JustSayNon pic.twitter.com/ohk3GBkBJs

July 20, 2017

“Boots’ justification infantalises women and places a moral judgment on them,” Phillips told the Guardian. “Their pricing is clearly for commercial gain as Tesco and Superdrug have addressed this issue with sensible pricing.

“Women do not need to be disincentivised by Boots to make personal choices about their bodies. We women go to Boots for our products, not moral guidance. Public opinion is not on their side so if they are worried about complaints they are listening to the wrong voices and customers should vote with their feet.”

Phillips said she did not believe Boots “would ever pass moral judgment on men’s contraceptives”. “Do they give a lecture on consent with all condom purchases?” she said.

In a recent YouGov survey, the median cost suggested by women for emergency contraception was £8, and the median cost suggested by men was £5. Almost a third of women and a quarter of men, the Labour letter added, believed emergency contraception should be free of charge.

“Concern about adverse criticism from pressure groups seems a very strange reason not to do the right thing,” Soubry said. “This is perfectly proper and lawful treatment. I’ve always found Boots to be an excellent business company, they employ a lot of people in my constituency, they are a valued employer and they’ve always had a strong desire to do the right thing throughout the whole of their long history. So not doing this doesn’t sit with the way Boots normally operates and the high standing it has locally.

“I would hope that they would be true to their tradition of doing the right thing, and doing the right thing is not giving in to pressure from the noisiest quarters. I am asking them for what reasons they are not reducing the cost of the morning-after pill given that other companies have reduced the charge. I urge them to reduce prices in accordance with their competitors.”

The MP Stella Creasy tweeted that Boots’ decision “contravenes consumer rights act given adds disproportionate charge which is not advertised”, while the writer Marian Keyes was among those condemning the company on Twitter, saying she would be “withdrawing my (considerable) custom”.

stellacreasy (@stellacreasy)

This is awful @BootsUK @BootsHelp & also contravenes consumer rights act given adds disproportionate charge which is not advertised.. https://t.co/DAvDiN1hAq

July 21, 2017

Announcing the retailer’s change of stance on Friday night, a spokesman for Boots said: “Pharmacy and care for customers are at the heart of everything we do, and as such we are truly sorry that our poor choice of words in describing our position on emergency hormonal contraception has caused offence and misunderstanding, and we sincerely apologise.”

In his original response to campaigners, Donovan said that Boots considered the issue very carefully but pointed out that the morning-after pill is already available for free in community pharmacies and NHS services.

Sophie Walker, leader of the Women’s Equality party, which had joined forces with BPAS to call for a boycott using the hashtag #justsaynon, said that the morning-after pill can be difficult to access for free on the NHS, with appointments at GP surgeries or family planning clinics hard to obtain at short notice.

“Many women will need to buy these pills over the counter, and it is irresponsible and exploitative for retailers to charge over the odds for them … Boots’ approach to this concern is indicative of a society that prioritises profit over women’s health and wellbeing,” Walker said.

Ann Clwyd MP, co-chair of the all-party parliamentary group on sexual and reproductive health, said: “Boots need to wise up. The reality is there are too many unwanted births. How come the tablets are available in France for £5.50? A case of Boots’ profit priority, I would say.”

Boots apologises over morning-after pill pricing row

Boots has said it is “truly sorry” for the way it responded to a campaign calling for it to cut the price of emergency contraception and said it is looking for cheaper alternatives.

The announcement, late on Friday night, came after news that the women’s parliamentary Labour party (PLP) had written to the store’s chief pharmacist to express “deep concern” about the company’s refusal to reduce the price of emergency contraception, and as calls for a boycott continue to grow.

Boots had said on Thursday it would not lower the cost of the morning-after pill despite a campaign from the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), a leading provider of abortion care, with its chief pharmacist, Marc Donovan, stating that the company did not want to be accused of “incentivising inappropriate use”.

Campaigners said the statement was insulting and sexist, and on Friday Anna Soubry, the Conservative MP for Broxtowe – where the Boots headquarters is located – said she was also writing a letter to the company asking it to make clear its reasons for not reducing prices.

Jess Phillips (@jessphillips)

Labour women join @bpas1968 in their campaign to demand @BootsUK rethink moral judgements and sheepish assertions on emergency contraceptive pic.twitter.com/y5N670TQ4I

July 21, 2017

The Labour letter, signed by the chair of the women’s parliamentary Labour party, Jess Phillips, as well as a number of prominent MPs including Harriet Harman, Yvette Cooper and Rachel Reeves, said: “Boots is the largest high-street pharmacy in the UK, and 90% of the population lives within 10 minutes of one of their shops.

“It is therefore completely unacceptable that British women have been paying up to £30 for a pill that costs a fraction of that to produce. The high cost of emergency contraception at Boots is preventing women from accessing it when needed.”

Both Tesco and Superdrug halved the price of their emergency contraceptive following the BPAS campaign, but Boots continues to charge £28.25 for Levonelle emergency contraceptive (the leading brand) and £26.75 for its own generic version. Tesco now charges £13.50 for Levonelle and Superdrug £13.49 for a generic version. In France, the tablet costs £5.50.

bpas (@bpas1968)

This is why Boots refuse to reduce the price of emergency contraception. Angry? Email @BootsUK now: https://t.co/g8NW8VAHX3 #JustSayNon pic.twitter.com/ohk3GBkBJs

July 20, 2017

“Boots’ justification infantalises women and places a moral judgment on them,” Phillips told the Guardian. “Their pricing is clearly for commercial gain as Tesco and Superdrug have addressed this issue with sensible pricing.

“Women do not need to be disincentivised by Boots to make personal choices about their bodies. We women go to Boots for our products, not moral guidance. Public opinion is not on their side so if they are worried about complaints they are listening to the wrong voices and customers should vote with their feet.”

Phillips said she did not believe Boots “would ever pass moral judgment on men’s contraceptives”. “Do they give a lecture on consent with all condom purchases?” she said.

In a recent YouGov survey, the median cost suggested by women for emergency contraception was £8, and the median cost suggested by men was £5. Almost a third of women and a quarter of men, the Labour letter added, believed emergency contraception should be free of charge.

“Concern about adverse criticism from pressure groups seems a very strange reason not to do the right thing,” Soubry said. “This is perfectly proper and lawful treatment. I’ve always found Boots to be an excellent business company, they employ a lot of people in my constituency, they are a valued employer and they’ve always had a strong desire to do the right thing throughout the whole of their long history. So not doing this doesn’t sit with the way Boots normally operates and the high standing it has locally.

“I would hope that they would be true to their tradition of doing the right thing, and doing the right thing is not giving in to pressure from the noisiest quarters. I am asking them for what reasons they are not reducing the cost of the morning-after pill given that other companies have reduced the charge. I urge them to reduce prices in accordance with their competitors.”

The MP Stella Creasy tweeted that Boots’ decision “contravenes consumer rights act given adds disproportionate charge which is not advertised”, while the writer Marian Keyes was among those condemning the company on Twitter, saying she would be “withdrawing my (considerable) custom”.

stellacreasy (@stellacreasy)

This is awful @BootsUK @BootsHelp & also contravenes consumer rights act given adds disproportionate charge which is not advertised.. https://t.co/DAvDiN1hAq

July 21, 2017

Announcing the retailer’s change of stance on Friday night, a spokesman for Boots said: “Pharmacy and care for customers are at the heart of everything we do, and as such we are truly sorry that our poor choice of words in describing our position on emergency hormonal contraception has caused offence and misunderstanding, and we sincerely apologise.”

In his original response to campaigners, Donovan said that Boots considered the issue very carefully but pointed out that the morning-after pill is already available for free in community pharmacies and NHS services.

Sophie Walker, leader of the Women’s Equality party, which had joined forces with BPAS to call for a boycott using the hashtag #justsaynon, said that the morning-after pill can be difficult to access for free on the NHS, with appointments at GP surgeries or family planning clinics hard to obtain at short notice.

“Many women will need to buy these pills over the counter, and it is irresponsible and exploitative for retailers to charge over the odds for them … Boots’ approach to this concern is indicative of a society that prioritises profit over women’s health and wellbeing,” Walker said.

Ann Clwyd MP, co-chair of the all-party parliamentary group on sexual and reproductive health, said: “Boots need to wise up. The reality is there are too many unwanted births. How come the tablets are available in France for £5.50? A case of Boots’ profit priority, I would say.”

Boots apologises over morning-after pill pricing row

Boots has said it is “truly sorry” for the way it responded to a campaign calling for it to cut the price of emergency contraception and said it is looking for cheaper alternatives.

The announcement, late on Friday night, came after news that the women’s parliamentary Labour party (PLP) had written to the store’s chief pharmacist to express “deep concern” about the company’s refusal to reduce the price of emergency contraception, and as calls for a boycott continue to grow.

On Thursday, Boots said it would not lower the cost of the morning-after pill despite a campaign from the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), a leading provider of abortion care, with its chief pharmacist, Marc Donovan, stating that the company did not want to be accused of “incentivising inappropriate use”.

Campaigners said the statement was insulting and sexist, and on Friday Anna Soubry, the Conservative MP for Broxtowe – where the Boots headquarters is located – said she was also writing a letter to the company asking it to make clear its reasons for not reducing prices.

Jess Phillips (@jessphillips)

Labour women join @bpas1968 in their campaign to demand @BootsUK rethink moral judgements and sheepish assertions on emergency contraceptive pic.twitter.com/y5N670TQ4I

July 21, 2017

The Labour letter, signed by the chair of the women’s PLP, Jess Phillips, as well as a number of prominent MPs including Harriet Harman, Yvette Cooper and Rachel Reeves, said: “Boots is the largest high-street pharmacy in the UK, and 90% of the population lives within 10 minutes of one of their shops.

“It is therefore completely unacceptable that British women have been paying up to £30 for a pill that costs a fraction of that to produce. The high cost of emergency contraception at Boots is preventing women from accessing it when needed.”

Both Tesco and Superdrug halved the price of their emergency contraceptive following the BPAS campaign, but Boots continues to charge £28.25 for Levonelle emergency contraceptive (the leading brand) and £26.75 for its own generic version. Tesco now charges £13.50 for Levonelle and Superdrug £13.49 for a generic version. In France, the tablet costs £5.50.

bpas (@bpas1968)

This is why Boots refuse to reduce the price of emergency contraception. Angry? Email @BootsUK now: https://t.co/g8NW8VAHX3 #JustSayNon pic.twitter.com/ohk3GBkBJs

July 20, 2017

“Boots’ justification infantalises women and places a moral judgment on them,” Phillips told the Guardian. “Their pricing is clearly for commercial gain as Tesco and Superdrug have addressed this issue with sensible pricing.

“Women do not need to be disincentivised by Boots to make personal choices about their bodies. We women go to Boots for our products, not moral guidance. Public opinion is not on their side so if they are worried about complaints they are listening to the wrong voices and customers should vote with their feet.”

Phillips said she did not believe Boots “would ever pass moral judgment on men’s contraceptives”. “Do they give a lecture on consent with all condom purchases?” she said.

In a recent YouGov survey, the median cost suggested by women for emergency contraception was £8, and the median cost suggested by men was £5. Almost a third of women and a quarter of men, the Labour letter added, believed emergency contraception should be free of charge.

“Concern about adverse criticism from pressure groups seems a very strange reason not to do the right thing,” Soubry said. “This is perfectly proper and lawful treatment. I’ve always found Boots to be an excellent business company, they employ a lot of people in my constituency, they are a valued employer and they’ve always had a strong desire to do the right thing throughout the whole of their long history. So not doing this doesn’t sit with the way Boots normally operates and the high standing it has locally.

“I would hope that they would be true to their tradition of doing the right thing, and doing the right thing is not giving in to pressure from the noisiest quarters. I am asking them for what reasons they are not reducing the cost of the morning-after pill given that other companies have reduced the charge. I urge them to reduce prices in accordance with their competitors.”

The MP Stella Creasy tweeted that Boots’ decision “contravenes consumer rights act given adds disproportionate charge which is not advertised”, while the writer Marian Keyes was among those condemning the company on Twitter, saying she would be “withdrawing my (considerable) custom”.

stellacreasy (@stellacreasy)

This is awful @BootsUK @BootsHelp & also contravenes consumer rights act given adds disproportionate charge which is not advertised.. https://t.co/DAvDiN1hAq

July 21, 2017

Announcing the retailer’s change of stance on Friday night, a spokesman for Boots said: “Pharmacy and care for customers are at the heart of everything we do, and as such we are truly sorry that our poor choice of words in describing our position on emergency hormonal contraception has caused offence and misunderstanding, and we sincerely apologise.”

In his original response to campaigners, Donovan said that Boots considered the issue very carefully but pointed out that the morning-after pill is already available for free in community pharmacies and NHS services.

Sophie Walker, leader of the Women’s Equality party, which had joined forces with BPAS to call for a boycott using the hashtag #justsaynon, said that the morning-after pill can be difficult to access for free on the NHS, with appointments at GP surgeries or family planning clinics hard to obtain at short notice.

“Many women will need to buy these pills over the counter, and it is irresponsible and exploitative for retailers to charge over the odds for them … Boots’ approach to this concern is indicative of a society that prioritises profit over women’s health and wellbeing,” Walker said.

Ann Clwyd MP, co-chair of the all-party parliamentary group on sexual and reproductive health, said: “Boots need to wise up. The reality is there are too many unwanted births. How come the tablets are available in France for £5.50? A case of Boots’ profit priority, I would say.”

‘I was wrong’: Pauline Hanson apologises for vaccination claims

Pauline Hanson has apologised for incorrectly claiming on Sunday that parents could conduct their own tests to evaluate vaccination safety.

“Yes, I do apologise,” she said. “As far as having tests done, OK, I admit I was wrong with that.”

Senator Hanson has been criticised by the Australian Medical Association and others for giving the incorrect impression that vaccines were not safe.

“All I’m saying to people that are concerned about it – you go and do your research, go ask questions of your doctor,” she told Channel Seven on Thursday.

Pauline Hanson voiced criticism of the government’s vaccination rules on the ABC’s Insiders program last week, sparking furious condemnation from health and medical groups.

She advised parents to test their children before vaccinations because some parents, she claimed, had reported problems with vaccines.

Hanson also argued that successive governments had “blackmailed” people into having their children vaccinated because of the policy of withholding childcare fee rebates and welfare payments from parents who don’t have their children fully immunised.

“What I don’t like about it is the blackmailing that’s happening with the government,” Hanson said. “Don’t do that to people. That’s a dictatorship. I think people have a right to investigate themselves.”

She later defended her comments saying they were her “personal opinion” and she acknowledged she had vaccinated her own children.

Hanson’s comments were also condemned by the prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull.

“If parents choose not to vaccinate their children, they are putting their children’s health at risk and every other person’s children’s health at risk too,” Turnbull said.

The president of the Australian Medical Association, Michael Gannon, told the ABC that Hanson needed to take responsibility for her position on vaccination.

“She needs to realise that she’s a serious player in Australian politics now,” he said. “You know, with 8, 9, 10% of Australians indicating an intention to vote for One Nation, she can no longer make fringe statements that are dangerous to the health of the whole community.”

“We know in medical science that we’re never going to reach that 1 or 2% of rusted-on flat-earthers who don’t accept the science of vaccination.

“But what we worry about a lot about is that about 8% of the population are so-called vaccine-hesitant, and they’re looking for any information that might lead them away from what is, with the exception of clean water, probably the most significant health measure we’ve got.

“It is absolutely essential that we have accurate information, and this fatuous idea that parents can spend half an hour on Wikipedia and come to a greater understanding of the issues than their doctor and the accumulated wisdom of all the world’s medical scientists is ludicrous.”