CVS drops price on menstrual products, paying ‘pink tax’ in some states

CVS will drop the price on store-branded menstrual products nationwide on Thursday, and has already begun paying the sales tax for such products in some states.

The company announced Wednesday, Oct. 12, that it would reduce the price on CVS Health and Live Better tampons, pads, cups and liners by 25% or more in “core CVS Pharmacy locations.”

The price reduction also applies to medication for urinary tract infections, pregnancy tests and vaginal ointments.

On Oct. 5, CVS started paying the sales tax on period products for customers in Arkansas, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Missouri, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin and West Virginia. Some states do not allow organizations to pay taxes on behalf of customers. Other states don’t have a sales tax at all.

In a statement to TODAY, a spokesperson for CVS Health explained that the change is rooted in the company “taking a stance that products marketed toward women should not be priced higher than the same products marketed toward men,” a phenomenon often referred to as the “pink tax.”

“We have implemented a formal process, including system updates and will evaluate and adjust prices regularly,” the statement added.

A study looking at over 800 products across 90 brands from the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs found that 86% of categories charged more for women’s items compared to those of men.

What’s more, tampons are often taxed as luxury goods, meaning at a higher rate, also known as the “tampon tax,” according to the Alliance for Period Supplies. While 23 states exempt period products from taxation, 22 tax at a rate from 4% to 7%.

One study found that the additional tax has been a major contributor to poor reproductive health for the nearly 14 million women living in poverty in the U.S. For women with especially heavy bleeding and painful period symptoms, the lack of care has led to poor hygiene and decreased work participation.

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