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CVS Is Paying “the Tampon Tax" and Cutting Prices on Period Products

The company will cover the tax on menstrual products in 12 states and has cut the cost of their own period products by 25 percent.
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By Wyndi Kappes, Associate Editor
Published October 18, 2022
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Image: FotoDuets | Shutterstock

Arguably one of the best parts of being pregnant is the 9-months spent period free. But for the other months and years women spend menstruating, having a period is often a hassle. It’s not enough that women have to contend with the pains and hormonal rollercoaster menstruation brings on, but when they head to the store to buy the products they need, they can often be hit with high prices, partly due to “The Tampon Tax.”

The tampon tax refers to the sales tax rate that the government collects on the retail purchase of menstrual products. Too often, period products are taxed as luxury items and not recognized as basic necessities. According to The Alliance for Period Supplies, 22 states charge sales tax on period products (as of September 20, 2022), ranging from 4 to 7 percent in Indiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee—with many states, cities and counties imposing an additional local sales tax.

While the fight to end the tampon tax nationwide rages on, CVS has stepped up to the plate to give women a little relief at the register. The drugstore giant announced this week that it will cut prices on CVS brand period products by 25 percent and pay the tampon tax on all menstrual items in 12 states. The brand notes it can’t pay sales tax for menstrual products in all the states that tax them because of laws in 13 states that prohibit organizations from covering a product’s tax.

“Women have long faced systemic barriers on their path to better health – from access to affordability to stigma,” Michelle Peluso, EVP and chief customer officer for CVS Health and co-president for CVS Pharmacy, said in a statement sent to USA TODAY. “We hope our actions help break down barriers and close gaps, while also inspiring other companies to follow our lead.”

While many praise CVS for making period care more accessible, some note that the brand could be doing more by reducing prices on all period products, not just its in-house brands. For the 1 in 4 people who menstruate and struggle to afford period products, bigger nationwide changes must be made.

If you want to help women get access to the period products they need, The Alliance for Period Supplies encourages people to take action by hosting product drives, fundraising events and by volunteering at their local period supplies bank.

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