Thursday 23 March 2017

Boots still won't say if it will cut prices

Aideen Sheehan Consumer Correspondent

A MAJOR pharmacy chain has still not cut its prices despite the arrival of a new player on the market -- and months after telling the Irish Independent that it planned to review them.

Boots Pharmacies continues to charge high mark-ups for prescription drugs, four months after it came top in our survey of chemists' prices.

And despite the arrival of Tesco in the pharmacy market, with significantly lower prices for drugs, Boots has refused to confirm when -- or even if -- it will reduce its mark-ups.

The chain promised in July to "review our prices again as we continue our commitment in offering the best price available to our customers".

Last month, this newspaper noted that Boots' mark-up was between 73pc and 354pc. The chain responded that it was carrying out a review of pricing.

However, when asked if it would cut its high prices following Tesco's entry, Boots again refused to commit to actual reductions. The company said it welcomed any competition that would benefit the consumer.

Value

It said: "Boots is committed to offering great value. All retailers regularly review prices in line with the local market conditions and cost price changes."

Meanwhile, pharmacy chains Sam McCauley, Hickey's and Unicare did not respond to questions last night on whether they would cut drug prices.

The HSE again urged private patients to demand lower prices for drugs based on the reduced retail mark-ups of 20pc that it introduced two years ago for drugs purchased under the State's Drugs Payment Scheme.

Irish Independent

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