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#GPnews: Boots accused of charging too much for morning-after pills

14:30 Boots chemists has said that it keeps the cost of morning-after pills high to avoid ’incentivising inappropriate use’.

The BBC reports that the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), which provides abortion care, wants Boots to reduce the cost of emergency contraception Levonelle – which costs £28.25.

The company said it was “disappointed by the focus” BPAS had taken.

A branded drug costs £13.50 at Tesco and a generic version is £13.49 in Superdrug.

Clare Murphy, BPAS director of external affairs, said: ’Most people believe women should be able to access emergency contraception from pharmacies at an affordable price.’

But the chief pharmacist at Boots UK, Marc Donovan, said: ’In our experience, the subject of [emergency hormonal contraception] polarises public opinion and we receive frequent contact from individuals who voice their disapproval of the fact that [Boots] chooses to provide this service.

’We would not want to be accused of incentivising inappropriate use, and provoking complaints, by significantly reducing the price of this product.’

9:20 We’re not saying that it is silly season just yet – which could see stories such as German children swearing splashed across the front page of the biggest selling newspaper in the country just to allow an Allo Allo headline – but the BBC health page is leading on ‘Mind-blowing’ cows holding the clue to beating HIV.

In language reminscent of the Fast Show’s Californian scientist, US researchers have described a breakthrough in the fight against HIV as ‘insane’ and ‘mind-blowing’.

In a study published in the journal Nature, they showed that a special type of antibody that is produced rapidly by cows could neutralise 20% of HIV strains within 42 days.

By 381 days, they could neutralise 96% of strains tested in the lab.

The US National Institutes of Health said the findings were of ’great interest’.

Dr Dennis Burton, a researcher, said: ’The potent responses in this study are remarkable.

‘Unlike human antibodies, cattle antibodies are more likely to bear unique features and gain an edge over HIV.’