The US is reeling from a tampon shortage, leaving users with fewer menstrual product options as supplies dwindle nationwide, consumers and advocates say.
This shortage is precariously timed, coming as the price of menstrual products has recently surged, advocates also said.
“I can share that our organization has distributed over 2m period care products during 2021 and access to products has increasingly worsened over the past year,” Laurie Rovin, interim CEO of The Period Project, an organization that provides menstrual products to persons in need, said in an email. “We are having challenges ordering in bulk, and when we attempt to order retail, the limit is five boxes per order.”
In August 2021, when Rovin became The Period Project’s interim leader, the organization’s cost per “period pack” was $5.86. The pack, which includes tampons, pads, liners and wipes, now costs the organization $10 and is “rapidly rising”, Rovin said.
The tampon shortage marks the second time in several months where many women and other persons with uteruses weren’t able to find another basic necessity on store shelves: there has also been a shortage of baby formula.
Additionally, the tampon shortage is unfolding as many in the country brace for limits on access to abortion and a spate of reproductive health services, should the US supreme court reverse Roe v Wade this summer as expected.
It’s unclear how the shortage is affecting smaller and independent retailers. A spokesperson at the National Community Pharmacists Association said that several member pharmacies had not experienced supply issues nor had problems with their distributors.
But Rovin is not the only advocate who has seen diminishing supplies.