PHARMACY chain Boots Ireland has promised to freeze the price of more than 1,300 products, saying it wants them to remain affordable for customers as the cost of living continues to rise.
he price promise comes after a study by researchers at Trinity College Dublin and Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) found that prices of prescription medicines in some pharmacy chains were significantly higher than in independently-owned pharmacies.
Boots said the lines where prices are being frozen cover beauty, health, wellness and baby, and include everyday essentials as well as lines customers buy most often.
But the price freeze does not cover prescription medicines, the area where the Trinity and RCSI study found huge price discrepancies.
The list of products spans a number of categories, such as toiletries, hair care, dental, health, wellness and beauty.
The products include Boots branded customer favourites and everyday essentials such as toothpaste, shampoo, nappies and shower gel.
Prices will be locked until the end of the year.
It also said thousands of its Boots brands are now available from as little as 99c.
It comes after the Trinity and RCSI study found wide price variations and a lack of price transparency in the pharmacy sector.
The cost of some commonly used prescription drugs can almost double between one pharmacy and another, the study found.
Prices in some pharmacies owned by chains were significantly higher than in independently owned pharmacies, the researchers found.
Asked about the study on the price variation in prescription medicine, Boots Ireland said the price cuts it was announcing were unrelated to the price variation in prescriptive drugs.
Meanwhile, the Health Insurance Authority (HIA) has found that some health insurers were not applying policies that were compliant with regulations for what is called risk equalisation.
This is where people with health insurance pay a levy that contributes to a €800m fund.
Money from the fund is distributed to health insurers to make sure people with the same policy pay the same price irrespective of their age or health status.