Major U.S. stores report tampon shortages amid increased demand for feminine products
Some of the largest stores in the United States are reportedly experiencing shortages of feminine hygiene products, while the cost of essential items rises as supply chain issues and skyrocketing inflation continue to weigh on the economy.
According to several social media posts, consumers are finding it increasingly difficult to buy tampons from US stores, including Walgreens, CVS and Target.
“I just went to 5 different Walgreens [and] the shelves are cleared, ”said a Twitter user last weekwhile another wrote“I had to go to three different stores to find the brand of tampons I like to use only to end up having to try another brand.”
Meanwhile, Reddit users posted about finding empty shelves when looking for tampons as far back as April, with one user saying they checked eight different stores for their favorite brand but couldn’t. couldn’t and so ordered the products “from Amazon at a noticeable markup.”
The issue also caught the attention of Sen. Maggie Hassan (DN.H.) who took to Twitter on Monday and accused the companies of price gouging.
“We’ve seen the reports: tampons are becoming more expensive and more scarce on store shelves, and businesses are profiting at record levels from a basic necessity. This is nonsense,” Hassan wrote. “Today, I’m calling on the CEOs of the four major tampon producers to increase supply, not prices.”
The current shortage is attributed to ongoing supply chain issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and increased demand, with consumer goods maker Procter & Gamble telling TIME that demand has increased by 7.7% since 2020. The company also noted that it was running its Auburn, Maine Tampax factory 24/7 to meet this increased demand.
Walgreens told ABC News in a statement that it is experiencing “temporary brand-specific shortages in certain geographies” but is working “diligently” with its suppliers to ensure the pads are available to consumers.
“While we continue to have products on shelves and online, it may only be in specific brands as we navigate the supply disruption,” the company said. “And, for customers looking for a specific product or brand, our website is up-to-date with the latest inventory information available at the store level.”
CVS also confirmed a shortage in a statement to ABC News and said it was also working with suppliers to ensure a “sufficient supply” of feminine care products is available in its stores.
“In recent weeks, there have been instances where suppliers have been unable to fulfill all orders placed,” the company said. “If a local store is temporarily short of specific products, we are working to restock those items as quickly as possible.”
A Target spokesperson confirmed to NPR that they are aware of a limited supply of tampons at some stores.
Meanwhile, Procter & Gamble, which makes Tampax tampons and Always pads, told ABC News it’s “producing tampons 24/7” in an effort to keep up with demand and has insisted that the situation was temporary.
“We understand that it’s frustrating for consumers not to find what they need,” the company said. “We can assure you that this is a temporary situation, and the Tampax team is producing tampons 24/7 to meet the growing demand for our products. We are working with our retail partners to maximize availability, which has increased significantly over the past few months.”
P&G said in its April earnings call that ongoing supply chain constraints will drive another round of price increases for its U.S. feminine, home and oral care products in July.
The average price of tampons has jumped nearly 10% over the past year, while prices for a pack of sanitary napkins have risen 8.3%, according to data cited by Bloomberg.
I Support the Girls, a group that provides menstrual products and other essentials to women in need, reported a 60% drop in donations this year compared to 2020.
On Monday, Nicole Morales, deputy national press secretary for the Republican National Committee, took aim at the Biden administration for the current situation, writing on Twitter: “If women can even find feminine hygiene products, they’ll have to pay almost 10% more to keep up with bidenflation.”