With high demand and supply chain issues leading to a national shortage, tampons, like baby formula, have become another essential product that’s hard to find in U.S. stores.
The shortage, addressed in a Time report earlier this week, means that groups that collect menstrual hygiene products for economically disadvantaged people are seeing donations decline. It’s also created an opportunity for some Amazon sellers to hike up their prices, as Time reported.
Procter & Gamble, the producer of Tampax tampons, says it has experienced a 7.7% increase in demand since 2020, which it attributes to the success of an ad campaign that year with comedian Amy Schumer, according to Time.
Schumer shared a screenshot of a headline linking her to the shortage, and quipped that she doesn’t “even have a uterus,” a reference to her 2021 uterus removal due to endometriosis.
Other reasons for the shortage cited in the Time story include staffing issues and rising costs to get raw materials. The article also notes that because tampons are used by people with uteruses ― and many of the people who make “procurement and supply chain decisions” about feminine care products don’t use the products themselves ― there’s a possible gendered aspect to the tampon shortage because it simply may not be seen as a priority.
“It’s still hard to find anyone doing anything about the tampon shortage,” Time’s Alana Semuels writes, “even though tampons have been hard to find for the past six months.”
Aside from demand for Tampax, the average prices of menstrual pad and tampon boxes have increased in the year through late May, according to NielsenIQ data referenced by Bloomberg.