CVS has lowered prices by 25% nationwide on all CVS Health and Live Better menstrual products, effective October 13, 2022. The price drop includes tampons, pads, panty liners, and cups. Pregnancy tests, urinary tract infection medication and vaginal ointments are also offered at a reduced price.
Note that CVS’ equity-based pricing subsidies apply only to its own store-branded women’s health products.
The ‘Pink Tax’
In a sponsored editorial published at FortuneWell, CVS wrote: “We are committed to ending gender-based price discrimination in our stores by eliminating the ‘pink tax,’ an increased price for personal care products marketed specifically to women compared to similar products for men.”
Referring to manual razors and shaving cream as its marquee example for pricing equity, CVS says: “We don’t think women should pay more than men for the same thing. That’s why we’ve reviewed thousands of products to ensure similar items are priced equally, no matter who they are for.”
The ‘Pink Tax’ is also sometimes referred to as the ‘Tampon Tax’ or ‘Menstrual Tax.’ The high cost of feminine hygiene products is especially problematic for low-income women: 1 in 3 low-income women miss work, school, and outings because of a lack of period supplies, according to The Alliance for Period Supplies.
Period poverty can reduce women’s participation in school and the workplace — and is associated with higher rates of depression — according to a George Mason University study by Dr. Jhumka Gupta.
Sales Tax on Feminine Hygiene Products
Twenty-one states impose sales tax on menstrual products. In addition to lowering prices, CVS is paying the sales tax on its store-brand period products in the twelve of those states where it’s legal to do so.
CVS’ HERe Women’s Health Campaign
Price equity for menstrual products is part of CVS Health’s broader HERe corporate-responsibility campaign, which aligns CVS Health’s services to women’s health issues.
For instance, as the following CVS Health commercial highlights:
- Women won’t “pay more than men for the same thing… or pay taxes for period products” at CVS Pharmacy. Nor will women “be told that our concerns are all in our head.”
- Women can “ask tough questions, day or night” at CVS Minute Clinics
- “HERe, we’re actually heard.”
The 30-second television commercial began airing on October 3, 2022. Two months post-launch, the commercial has been viewed on television 332 million times at an estimated advertising cost of $4.1 million.
A 15-second variation of the commercial focuses on ‘The Pink Tax’:
So far, The Pink Tax television commercial has been viewed 71 million times at an estimated advertising cost of $370,000.
Note the clever similarity and duality between the CVS Health logo and their campaign-specific logo for the CVS HERe initiative:
Women’s Health Advocacy
As part of its advocacy and education campaign, CVS tweeted this infographic:
In an earlier women’s health initiative, CVS committed to no longer displaying altered images in beauty advertisements.