John Boots founded Boots stores in Nottingham, UK, back in 1849. When John passed away in 1860, his 10-year old son Jesse helped his mother continue to operate the herbal medicine shop. In 1888 the company incorporated as the Boots Pure Drug Company.
Today, Boots is one of the largest retailers in the UK and Ireland, both in revenue and number of shops, with at least 2,500 locations. The company offers health and beauty products, hearing care services, optician services, and prescription drugs.
n 2009 Boots Superintendent Pharmacist Paul Bennett was interviewed by the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee about the company’s sale of homeopathic medicines. He told the committee that the company had no evidence to suggest that homeopathic medicines are efficacious but Boots sold them anyway, for reasons of “consumer choice”. The comments attracted significant media attention.
In July 2017, the British Pregnancy Advisory Service revealed that Boots was selling the “morning after” pill, which is an emergency contraceptive medication, at four times the cost. The company refused requests to join rival pharmacy retail chains to cease profiting financially from this medication. In a written response to BPAS, Boots revealed that they were frequently contacted by individuals who disapproved of the dispensing of such medication, which might be viewed as “incentivising inappropriate use”, an assertion which campaigners described as “insulting and sexist”. By the end of January 2018, Boots confirmed that it was now offering the discounted price on this medication in all of its pharmacies.
The company announced that at the end of September 2019, they would start charging for delivery service. Customers are outraged, claiming that Boots is putting a tax on sick people who require medication and can’t get to the pharmacy.
The head office remains in Nottingham, where is has been for 170 years.