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  • CVS announced 25% price cuts for its store-branded menstrual products. 
  • The company’s initiative also includes paying sales taxes on period products on customers’ behalf in 12 states.
  • Advocates are working towards legislation to address sales taxes on period products.

CVS Health is taking steps to address the cost of period care by reducing the prices of CVS Health store-brand menstrual products by 25% in its store nationwide, excluding Target pharmacy locations. The price drops went into effect Thursday.

The company announced the changes during a panel on female health in New York on Tuesday, the International Day of the Girl.

CVS said it also will pay sales taxes on period products – including tampons, sanitary pads and liners, and period cups – on customers’ behalf  in 12 states that have a so-called “tampon tax.”  The 12 states are: Arkansas, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Missouri, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin, and West Virginia.

The company said it would work to eliminate such taxes nationwide. The Connecticut-based Alliance for Period Supplies lists 22 states that charge sales taxes on period products, but according to a statement on the CVS website, in some jurisdictions organizations cannot pay taxes on behalf of  customers.  

The latest move is part of CVS’ new initiative, HERe, Healthier Happens Together, to provide easier access to services and products that help support women’s mental and physical well-being, a CVS spokesperson told Insider.

The company said it also has reviewed prices on thousands of goods to ensure fair and equitable pricing on comparable products for men and women, like razors and shaving cream.  

“We are committed to ending gender-based price discrimination in our stores by eliminating the ‘pink tax’,” said CVS Health vice presidents Joanne Armstrong and Joneigh Khaldun, in a statement for Fortune.

The “pink tax” refers to women often paying more for products that are almost identical in quality and design to men’s products. 

The CVS initiative also involves offering new menstrual, contraceptive, and menopause services through MinuteClinic at CVS; and launching new MinuteClinic Virtual Care services in most states seven days a week. They will include a variety of women’s health services — ranging from addressing general medical needs to heart health and thyroid monitoring, birth control consultations, and depression screenings.

People who menstruate require around 40 period products per cycle, according to the Alliance for Period Supplies. Lifetime costs can range from $1,800 to $5,500 for tampons and sanitary pads, according to reports from Yahoo Finance and Pandia Health, a medical corporation.

One survey found that more than 80% of US teens have either missed class time or know a classmate who missed class time because they were unable to find menstrual products. The survey also found that one in five teens struggled to afford period products.

“We are actively advocating for legislation to end the tampon tax in the 22 states that continue to impose sales tax on the basic necessities that people need to thrive,” Joanne Samuel Goldblum, CEO of Alliance for Period Supplies, told Insider.

The nonprofit group PERIOD., which is partnering with CVS on the initiative, directed a message towards states that still tax menstrual products.

“This is the first major national retailer to not only discuss women’s pricing disparities but actually make the substantial investment to do something about it,” Michela Bedard, executive director of PERIOD., told Insider. “If you are one of the last 22 states to tax period products, it’s time to repeal your antiquated law. Don’t be the last state to recognize that people who need menstrual carry an undue financial burden.”





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