Boots to cover HRT prescription costs for pharmacy team members

From April, any Boots employee who pays for NHS HRT prescriptions will be able to claim reimbursement of the cost via the Boots expense portal, the multiple explained today (21 March).

Around 8,600 employees are likely to access HRT, Boots said, and could benefit from an average annual saving of £224, as the multiple will cover monthly prescription costs for anyone ‘able and willing to take HRT’ .

Read more: HRT drug Gina 10mcg could become a P-drug after MHRA consultation

However, “recognizing that HRT is not for everyone and that symptom management can benefit from a holistic approach”, Boots has also introduced a range of initiatives and support programs to help members of the team going through menopause.

These include: menopause at work advice; a menopause network offering confidential counseling and support; counseling sessions; discounted support and advice on taking HRT and managing menopausal symptoms via Boots’ online doctor; and an independent, ad-free service offering doctor-led consultations and personalized treatment through the “My Menopause Centre” on the Boots Health Hub.

Mainly female workforce

Women make up 80% of Boots’ 51,000 employees, the multiple explained. He estimates that around 15% of the 8,600 eligible employees are likely to receive HRT in England.

Boots human resources director Ben Horner said the multiple “focuses on providing the support that will work best for [those experiencing the menopause] as they go through this important life transition and other health issues.”

Read more: PSNC: subcontractors need “assurances” on the impact of HRT prescription changes

Carolyn Harris, MP for Swansea East and chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Menopause, said the experience of menopause for some women “can be unbearable – stressful, debilitating and completely life changing”.

“Changes like this in the workplace will support everyone going through menopause in every role and make such a difference. It’s time for all employers to take menopause seriously and take action,” she added.

HRT support and shortages

In October 2021, the Department of Health and Social Care said it would work with NHS England and NHS Improvement to reduce the cost of repeatable HRT prescriptions and implement longer prescription cycles for the treatment of symptoms of menopause.

A prepayment scheme that promises potential savings of up to £205 by allowing women to pay a charge for a 12-month supply of HRT is due to be in place in April 2023, Pharmacy Minister Maria Caulfield has told the Women and Equalities Committee last week (March 16).

Pharmacies have been facing significant shortages of HRT drugs for several years.

C+D said HRT is the most frequently missing category of medicine in pharmacies after conducting a survey in September 2019 showing that 84% of pharmacy teams had difficulty obtaining it over a period of six months.

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