Linlithgow MSP Fiona Hyslop has written to senior management at Boots to express her concerns over its decision to introduce a delivery charge for prescriptions.
Boots are planning to introduce a charge from September 30 of £5 per patient, per delivery. They are also offering an annual subscription of £55 per year per patient as an alternative.
Speaking about the charge, Ms Hyslop said: “There are many reasons why patients may need to have their prescriptions delivered, a good number will be elderly and simply cannot afford this charge. Boots will already receive money from the NHS to handle prescriptions and while they appear to be offering a £55 annual payment alternative, £55 can be a lot to ask as a payment for people living off their pensions.
“The Scottish Government abolished prescription charges so that the most vulnerable people in our society did not have to choose between being able to eat and being able to pay for their medication.
“This move by Boots could force their patients back into making that decision if they physically cannot make it out to collect their prescriptions nor financially afford this charge.
“I am very concerned by this move and have written to Boots to urge them to rethink this policy.”
Richard Bradley from Boots, said: “Community pharmacy is unquestionably facing challenges and we need to adapt our offer to respond. As a result, we have invested heavily in digital technologies to offer a free, easy-to-use service for delivery of repeat prescriptions ordered online. Patients who make use of the in-store service will be required to pay for delivery should they require it, with exceptions in place to cover our most vulnerable patients in circumstances where their care necessitates delivery.”