Why is Argentina Battling a Tampon Shortage?

o.b. Tampons (Jezebel)

o.b. Tampons (Jezebel)

“The Cut” recently reported that Argentina is currently experiencing a woman’s worst nightmare: a tampon shortage.

According to the Associated Press, the shortage has been going on for over two weeks. The problem stems from an impasse between importers and the government. Businesses think the Argentinean government has been slow in issuing permits for imports (Argentina imports most of its tampons from nearby Brazil), while the government feels that businesses are driving up the prices to increase profits.

A spokesman for Johnson & Johnson claims that only the most popular tampon brands and quantities are affected by the shortage.

The situation isn’t uncommon for the country. Argentina periodically has experienced shortages of medical supplies such as needles and latex gloves.

The U.S. experienced a similar situation form 2009 to 2011. Johnson & Johnson took o.b. tampons off shelves in 2009, citing a “temporary supply interruption.”  The tampons are beloved for not having an applicator and for being environmentally-friendly. The supply shortage emptied drugstore shelves and drove demand up to $99 a box on eBay. The o.b. black market ended when stores began to restock the popular tampon.

No explanation was ever given for the shortage.

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