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The National Association of Women Pharmacists (NAWP) has appreciated Boots’ move to make Hormone Replacement Treatment (HRT) prescriptions free of cost for its employees.

Boots is supporting team members experiencing menopausal symptoms by removing the barrier of prescription costs, an initiative that could help them save individuals up to £224 per year.

“Pharmacists should be aware that it is not just their patients who experience menopause, it is an issue in the workplace too. As around 50 per cent of the world’s population consists of women, even if some will not experience menopause themselves, there will be female colleagues who will do so at some point in their lives,” said NAWP.

The association has long been raising the profile of women’s health issues for working pharmacists and has published several factsheets to assist employed and locum pharmacists as well as their employers.

NAWP, therefore, welcomes the news that the largest employer of pharmacists in the UK, Boots, has announced that it will provide additional support for pharmacists and other team members who need Hormone Replacement Treatment (HRT).

Around 80 per cent of Boots’ 51,000 employees are women and around 8,600 Boots team members are currently in scope to access HRT which helps relieve the symptoms of menopause. From April 2022, Boots will cover the cost of its team members’ prescriptions for those able and wanting to take HRT.

In October 2021, the government announced that women in England would only have to pay one charge of £18.70 for up to a 12-month supply of hormone replacement therapy (HRT). But recently, pharmacy minister Maria Caulfield confirmed that the move would not be enacted until April 2023.

Prescriptions are free of charge in Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, but most Boots team members are faced with a prescription charge from NHS England, so this will be an added benefit of working at Boots.

Daniela Rusalim, vice-president of NAWP and a pharmacist employed at Boots said: “This is a very welcome announcement of additional support from Boots for a health issue that impacts women at work. NAWP and the wider PDA are always pleased to give credit where it is due and welcome this initiative. We also welcome Boots stated aim to become a menopause-friendly employer.

“The pharmacist profession is two-thirds female and NAWP would like to see other employers in the UK introduce similar support for their employees.”

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