CVS will reduce prices on its store-branded menstrual products nationwide and pay the sales taxes on those products in a dozen states.
The chain last week also began paying sales taxes for customers on period products in 12 states — Arkansas, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Missouri, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin and West Virginia. CVS said it cannot cover the taxes in other states that levy them due to laws preventing third parties from paying taxes on a customer’s behalf.
Dr. Padmini Murthy, the global health lead for the American Medical Women’s Association, commended CVS, but said the company should go a step further and reduce prices on all of the menstrual products it sells.
“This move will highlight their commitment to addressing women’s health and pave the way for reducing menstrual inequity,” Murthy said in an email to CNN, “and not just to promote the use of CVS products.”
The price cuts from CVS are the latest step in a growing effort to close the gap between the cost of women’s and men’s personal health items, and eliminate sales taxes on feminine hygiene products, which are often known as the “pink tax” or “tampon tax.”
Advocates in recent years have pushed for states to eliminate sales taxes on women’s products. Twenty-three states exempt such items from taxes, according to the Alliance for Period Supplies, an advocacy organization working to expand access to menstrual supplies.
“Too often period products are taxed as luxury items and not recognized as basic necessities,” the organization said. “Period products are taxed at a similar rate to items like decor, electronics, makeup and toys.”
Menstrual products can be a big expense for women and have grown more costly in recent years.
Tampon prices increased 12.2% at retail stores for the year ending October 2, according to the latest data from market research firm IRI. Liners increased 11.6%.
One in four women struggled to purchase period supplies within the past year due to lack of income, according to the Alliance for Period Supplies.