(NEXSTAR) — Starting this month, CVS customers will see some major changes on menstrual products at pharmacies nationwide.
Price reductions will include CVS Health brand tampons, menstrual pads, liners and cups at core CVS Pharmacy locations. The 25% reduction only applies to regular retail prices — no promotions or sales items are included. Reductions are effective at CVS locations on or before Oct. 13, CVS says.
CVS says it’s now paying applicable sales tax on period products on behalf of customers in 12 states: Arkansas, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Missouri, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin and West Virginia. The change was effective Oct. 5, according to CVS.
Some states have laws against organizations paying taxes for customers, CVS notes.
Additionally, the pharmacy brand says it’s evaluated “thousands of products” to make sure “women’s” and “men’s” products like razors and shaving cream are priced equally.
“We don’t think women should pay more than men for the same thing,” CVS writes.
The changes are part of CVS’ “HERe, Healthier Happens Together” initiative, which will include expanded women’s health services in its Minute Clinics.
The so-called “tampon tax” or “menstrual tax” refers to sales tax added to period care products. The presence of sales tax on items people need — and that non-menstruating people don’t need — has been criticized for decades.
A 2021 study from George Mason University found that 1 in 10 college women experience “period poverty,” which means they have little to no access to menstrual hygiene products.
The study found period poverty affects women of color the most, in addition to immigrants. Those who experience period poverty also reported having used non-menstrual products in place of items like tampons or pads, in addition to using tampons longer than recommended. Some reported having to go without completely.
Currently, 22 U.S. states tax menstrual products, a July report from nonprofit data resource USA Facts explains. States that tax menstrual products are: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
Recently, Scotland passed its Period Products Act, becoming the first country in the world to make sure menstrual products are made free to citizens.