(NEW YORK) — Starting this week, customers shopping for period products like tampons, menstrual pads and liners will pay lower prices in CVS stores.
The national retailer announced it is reducing the cost of CVS Health brand period products by 25% in all CVS Pharmacy locations nationwide.
The retailer will also begin paying the so-called “tampon tax” — the sales tax that states place on feminine hygiene products — on menstrual products in 12 states where such a tax still exists, including Georgia, Louisiana, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Utah.
Only 23 states in the U.S. currently exempt period products from taxation, according to the Alliance for Period Supplies, which represents nonprofit organizations that collect and distribute menstrual supplies in local communities, according to its website.
A CVS spokesperson told ABC News the two price-lowering measures are part of the retailer’s Healthier Happens Together, or HERe, initiative, which works to make it easier for women to access services and products that support their “mental and physical well-being.”
In addition to the price changes on menstrual products, CVS said it is also offering new menstrual, menopause and contraception services at its MinuteClinic locations.
“Women experience conditions that are unique to their physiology and life stage, as well as those that are more common in, expressed in and treated differently for women of all ages,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “Women also face serious health care gaps, from systemic barriers created by high health care costs and access issues to health challenges related to a greater risk of chronic conditions.”
Period poverty, when people cannot afford even the most basic of period supplies like pads and tampons, is an issue that affects women around the world, including in the United States. A lack of access to menstrual products and education affects 1 in 10 college students in the U.S., according to a study released last year.
Advocates for menstrual equity say the taboo around menstruation and the lack of access to menstrual products hurts women economically because it costs them money and may keep them from attending jobs and school. Poor menstrual hygiene also poses health risks for women, including reproductive issues and urinary tract infections.
On average, a woman will spend around seven years in their lifetime on their period, according to UNICEF.
Last year, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill into law requiring that public schools and colleges provide free menstrual products in classrooms.
In 2020, Scotland made history as the first country in the world to provide period products to all women for free.
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