CVS Announces Price Drops To Combat ‘Pink Tax’ in 12 States, Saving Women $1,300 Annually

CVS Caremark Corporate Office in Irving, Texas, USA. stock photo
JHVEPhoto / iStock.com

The financial impact of gender-based pricing disparities is considerable over the course of a woman’s life. Women not only pay exorbitant prices and taxes on feminine products, but shell out more for similar products used by men.

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According to The Street, this price disparity extends to cis-gendered women, trans women, trans men and non-binary people, whose financial lives are controlled by the inequality of the so-called “pink tax” in obvious and unseen ways every day of their lives.

One company is taking a step toward addressing the cost disparity between women’s and men’s personal health products and phase out the “pink tax” in some states, which can cost women over $1,300 a year, per The Street.

CVS Health announced yesterday that it is has reduced the price on CVS Health brand period products by 25% in core CVS Pharmacy locations nationwide. This includes CVS Health and Live Better tampons, menstrual pads, cups and liners, per CNN Business.

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As USA Today reported, starting Oct. 5, the healthcare and pharmacy chain began paying sales taxes for customers on menstrual products in 12 states — Arkansas, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Missouri, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin and West Virginia. CVS claimed laws in the 10 other states that charge sales tax on tampons and other menstrual products prohibit it from paying taxes on customer’s behalf.

Related: How To Save on Prescriptions and More at Walgreens, CVS and Other Drugstores

In a statement sent to USA Today, Michelle Peluso — EVP and chief customer officer for CVS Health and co-president for CVS Pharmacy — said, “Women have long faced systemic barriers on their path to better health — from access to affordability to stigma”

“We hope our actions help break down barriers and close gaps, while also inspiring other companies to follow our lead,” Peluso added.

As the Street explained, “pink tax” — also known as the “tampon tax” or “gender tax” — is a label given to discriminatory prices and sales taxes imposed on feminine hygiene products. Advocate groups have been pushing for states to eliminate taxes for years, and while 23 states currently exempt them, there are still 22 states that charge sales tax on tampons and other menstrual products (the remaining five states do not have state sales tax).

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The CVS announcement was met with approval from women’s health advocacy groups across the U.S. However, some are urging CVS to do more. As Dr. Padmini Murthy, the global health lead for the American Medical Women’s Association, told CNN, manufacturers and retailers need to cut prices on all period products.

“This move will highlight their commitment to addressing women’s health and pave the way for reducing menstrual inequity,” Murthy said. “And not just to promote the use of CVS products.”

See: 4 Steps Black Women Can Take To Help Close the Wealth Gap
Examining the Gender Pay Gap: Industries Where Women Still Make Less Despite More Challenges

So far, no other healthcare/drug store retail chains — including Walgreens and Rite-Aid — have announced if they will follow CVS’s lead in cutting sales taxes on menstrual products or reducing product prices.

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About the Author

David Nadelle is a freelance editor and writer based in Ottawa, Canada. After working in the energy industry for 18 years, he decided to change careers in 2016 and concentrate full-time on all aspects of writing. He recently completed a technical communication diploma and holds previous university degrees in journalism, sociology and criminology. David has covered a wide variety of financial and lifestyle topics for numerous publications and has experience copywriting for the retail industry.
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