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Tampon tax

LloydsPharmacy to pay ‘tampon tax’ for customers

LloydsPharmacy has announced it will be cutting the price of sanitary products by 5% to cover the cost of the so-called ‘tampon tax’ for its customers.

It makes it the first community pharmacy chain to do so, and follows similar moves by supermarkets Tesco and Waitrose.

“We recognise that sanitary items are essential for women and their wellbeing,” says Sarah Jezard, marketing director of Lloyds’s parent company, Celesio UK. “As a trusted healthcare provider, we want to ensure that our customers have better access to the products they need.”

Sanitary products are subject to 5% VAT and the government is currently unable to reduce the rate to zero because of EU rules. This is expected to change following an announcement by the European Commission last year that it intends to allow member states the flexibility to introduce zero-rate VAT on sanitary items.

However, there is currently no timetable for when the EU rules will change and it will not happen until at least 2018. Until then, the UK government is directing revenue from the tax towards women’s charities. 

The UK’s four leading supermarket chains, as well as Waitrose and Boots, pledged last year that when the change is introduced, they will pass on the savings to their customers. In the last month, Tesco and Waitrose both announced they will be dropping their prices on sanitary products by 5% to cover the tax. The other three big supermarkets — Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and ASDA — are now being petitioned to follow suit.

“It’s brilliant news,” says Laura Coryton, who founded the UK ‘Stop Taxing Periods’ campaign against the tampon tax. “Not only does it help our campaign, but it also smashes the period taboo and tackles period poverty which, recent studies have shown, is keeping girls out of school and jeopardising the health of many women.” 

The price changes at LloydsPharmacy will come into effect from 15 August 2017.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2017.20203397

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