CVS, in nod to health equity, is lowering prices on women’s care products, offering more services at MinuteClinics

Women’s health care needs and issues have long been undervalued — and overpriced.

CVS Health is doing something about it.

The company, as part of its HERe, Healthier Happens Together platform, is taking several bold actions related to product pricing, while providing women with greater access to affordable, accessible health care services.

It will do the following in its approximately 350 locations in New Jersey:

  • Reducing the prices of CVS Health store brand period products in core stores by 25%;
  • Taking a stance on the “Pink Tax” by ensuring fair and equitable pricing for men’s and women’s comparable products, like razors and shaving cream;
  • Offering new menstrual, contraception and menopause services through MinuteClinic at CVS;
  • Launching new MinuteClinic Virtual Care services in most states seven days a week — for a variety of women’s health services, ranging from general medical needs, from heart health and thyroid monitoring, to birth control consultations and depression screenings.

CVS officials said the moves are part of the company’s ongoing commitment to advancing health equity by illuminating a pervasive challenge that many women face: period poverty.

Studies show 1 in 5 women cannot afford period support products, which can result in missing school and/or work, and close to half (45%) of those with periods currently are regularly stressed about affording period products.

Jake White, vice president of merchandising for consumer health care for CVS Health, said the steps are one way the company is taking aim at this issue.

“A longstanding ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to health care means that many women’s health challenges are historically unrecognized or underappreciated,” he said. “Women experience conditions that are unique to their physiology and life stage, as well as those that are more common in, expressed in and treated differently for women of all ages.

“Women face serious health care gaps, from systemic barriers created by high health care costs and access issues to health challenges related to a greater risk of chronic conditions.”

New Jersey has taken steps on its own. In 2005, the state eliminated the tax on menstrual products, the co-called “tampon tax.”