Walgreens Hit With Proposed “Pink Tax” Class Action Over Hair-Loss Formula

Consumer GoodsLegal News

According to Law360.com, a California resident, Brigette Lowe, has hit Walgreens with a proposed class action over a “pink tax” for a hair loss remedy the retail giant sells under its brand name. 

Lowe accuses Walgreens of selling their hair loss remedy at a higher price to women than to men, even though the formula is the same for both men and women. The hair loss remedy—Walgreens Hair Growth Treatment For Women—the 24-page complaint claims, costs 1.5 times less per ounce for the product targeted to men. 

“Walgreens designs its packaging to mislead consumers into thinking that the Women’s Product is unique or specially formulated to make it specifically appropriate for women as opposed to men,” the complaint says, per Law360.com (subscription required). 

Both Walgreens Hair Growth Treatment for Women and Men contain the active ingredient minoxidil (5%). 

The foam-based treatments for both and women are identical and, therefore, the plaintiff argues in the complaint, “There is no reason for this dramatic price differential, as both products are identical,” the complaint says. “No reasonable consumer would pay approximately 1.5 times more for the women’s product, as compared to the men’s product, unless she was deceived into thinking that women cannot safely use the men’s product.”

The term, “pink tax,” says the lawsuit, describes gender-based pricing discrimination, in which products marketed to female consumers cost more than the same products marketed to men, explains Law360.com.

The packaging for the two different genders are identical, with the only difference being minor product-use instruction information. 

But this minor difference alone does not justify the price difference, the complaint says. 

“These instructions do not, in any manner, cure Walgreens’ gender-discriminatory pricing of the Women’s product from being an unfair and deceptive practice.”

Pink taxes, the complaint adds, explains why women pay approximately 13% more than men for personal care products. In California, it’s estimated that women pay nearly $2,400 a year. The complaint also pointed to a study which revealed that women pay 40% more than men for the same hair-loss treatments. 

The plaintiff,who is seeking compensatory, statutory and punitive damages, plus interest and attorney fees, also referenced the fact lawmakers in California are attempting to pass legislation prohibiting so-called pink taxes.

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