Empty Tampon Shelves Dubbed the Latest Shortage 'Nightmare'

Almost empty menstrual product shelfAlmost empty menstrual product shelf
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Following the ongoing baby formula shortage, CVS and other drugstores are struggling to keep tampons on the shelves.

Menstrual products are currently subject to supply shortages, according to CBS New’s Money Watch.

According to CBS, after the Food and Drug Administration acknowledged the shortage of baby formula, some are calling the tampon issue the latest "nightmare,” or the “Great Tampon Shortage of 2022.”

Consumers have taken to social media sites like Twitter to share their frustrations. According to the site’s trending hashtag #tamponshortage, many are struggling to find their needed products in the usual places.

One Twitter user said, "I thought I was going crazy noticing empty shelves where tampons should be.”

The shortage has posed a problem for both individuals and groups that gather menstrual products for others who may not have access. 

This has significantly affected nonprofit organizations such as I Support the Girls.

I Support the Girls receives donated bras and menstrual products from individuals and corporations, which they then distribute to social service agency partners. This includes homeless shelters, refugee agencies, and organizations that support survivors of human trafficking. 

Through May 25, the organization received more than 213,000 tampons, which is down 61% from close to the 548,000 donated tampons in 2020, according to Money Watch.

"We've been getting requests for tampons, and our warehouse shelves are empty. We are literally down to boxes versus pallets," Dana Marlowe, founder of I Support the Girls told Money Watch, told CBS. "It's been very noticeable." 

Marlowe told the outlet that she doesn’t believe the issue is getting the attention it deserves.

"It's so stigmatized in society, and also a majority of lawmakers don't have periods," she said.

Marlowe told the outlet she has seen people resort to using the insides of mattresses, cut-up dirty sheets and t-shirts, and cardboard to mitigate their lack of products, which health experts say can be harmful.

"Periods don't stop for pandemics," she said. "Just because there is a shortage doesn't mean your period is going to turn off that month."

The shortage is seemingly not isolated to singular stores, as one member of an online forum said she had visited three different CVS locations only to find them "99% bare of all tampons." 

"If a local store is temporarily out of specific products, we work to replenish those items as quickly as possible," a spokesperson from CVS Health told CBS.

According to the outlet, P&G, the company behind Tampax brand tampons, called the shortage "a temporary situation" and said Tampax is working "24/7 to meet the increased demand for our products," as well as helping retailers get more products on store shelves. 

"We understand it is frustrating for consumers when they can't find what they need," a P&G spokesperson said.

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