Consumers and advocates say the U.S. is grappling with a shortage of tampons, leaving users with fewer menstrual product options as supplies dwindle.
Advocates also said the shortage will last indefinitely as the price of menstrual products has increased recently.
“I can report that our organization shipped 2 million period care products in 2021 and product access has deteriorated sharply over the past year,” said Laurie Rovin, interim CEO of The Period Project, an organization dedicated to supporting prescribed to people in need. Offers menstrual products. Said in an email. “We face challenges ordering in bulk and when trying to order retail there is a limit of five boxes per order.”
When Rovin became interim director of The Period Project in August 2021, the organization’s cost per “period package” was $5.86. The bundle, which includes tampons, pads, pads and wipes, is now $10 for the outfit and “is growing fast,” Rovin said.
The tampon shortage is the second time in several months that many women and other men who have had hysterectomies have not been able to find another basic need on store shelves: There has also been a shortage of baby food.
Additionally, tampon shortages are coming to the fore in the country to limit access to abortion and a range of reproductive health services should the US Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade, hopefully this summer.
It’s not clear how the shortage will affect small and independent retailers. A spokesman for the National Community Pharmacists Association said many member pharmacies had neither supply problems nor problems with their distributors.
But Rovin isn’t the only attorney seeing a lack of offers.
“We’ve certainly seen a drop in tampon donations over the past few months,” Lisane Tait, executive director of the nonprofit Helping Women Period, which distributes menstrual products to those in need, said in an email. Said in email. , “I’ve heard from people we distribute that they have trouble finding certain brands that they are used to using. Especially non-bulky tampons like Ob”
Alice Joy, CEO and co-founder of Girls Helping Girls. Period., an organization that distributes menstrual products to community organizations like Food Pantry, also saw a decline.
“For the first time ever, several organizations are reaching out to me to see if I can help them cover their customers and I also have new agencies asking me for help. because the resources they have have dried up,” Joy said. “It’s not uncommon for me to reach out to a new agency and it’s not uncommon for other organizations to do what I do to reach out on occasion, but that’s a lot. are consistent [now],
“Calls for help reach us several times a week – more than usual.”
CVS and Walgreens, the two major US pharmacy chains, confirmed that some tampons are sold out in some stores. Both said they are working with suppliers to ensure adequate stock levels.
“In recent weeks there have been instances where suppliers have been unable to fulfill the full number of orders placed,” CVS said in a statement. “If a local store is temporarily out of certain products, we work to restock those items as soon as possible.”
A statement from Walgreens said, “Similar to other retailers, we are experiencing some temporary shortages of branded tampons in certain regions.”
The statement added: “While we will continue to have products off the shelf and online, this may only happen with certain brands as we manage supply disruptions.”
Edgewell, a leading personal care products manufacturer, said COVID-related staffing issues contributed to supply issues in late 2021 and early 2022. However, the company also said it was taking steps “to rebuild inventory.”
Edgewell’s statement said: “To meet current demand during the pandemic, we have continuously operated a manufacturing facility producing our feminine hygiene products, including Playtex and Ob tampons, and Carefree and Stayfree liners and pads . Is.” “Production, and so was the list of these products [affected] Due to lack of extensive personnel due to two separate Omicron surges.
“We are running our manufacturing facilities 24/7 to build inventory and expect a return to normal levels in the coming weeks.”