Products aimed at regrowing hair cost more when they are marketed to women than when they are marketed to men, a new study finds.
Researchers found, for example, that one popular product, Rogaine, cost 40 percent more when it was marketed to women than when it was marketed to men. One foaming Rogaine product marketed to women cost $11.27 per 30 milliliters (mL), but a product of the same strength and with the same ingredients that was marketed to men cost $8.05 per 30 mL.
This isn’t the first time that researchers have uncovered gender-based price differences for consumer products. Indeed, this price mark-up practice for products marketed to women has a name: the “pink tax,” said study co-author Dr. Jules Lipoff, an assistant professor of dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania.
But in the case of hair-loss products, the product involved contains a medication, called minoxidil. This phenomenon — of gender-based price differences in medications — has not been reported before, Lipoff told Live Science.
In the new study, published June 7 in the journal JAMA Dermatology, researchers looked at hair-loss products sold at 24 national chain pharmacies — including CVS, Kroger, Rite Aid, Target, Walgreens and Walmart — in four states: Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio and Indiana. The researchers examined the prices, compositions and other information related to a total of 41 products. All of the products contained minoxidil, an over-the-counter topical medication approved for treating hair loss. The researchers looked at a total of 14 products marketed to women and 27 products for men.
In the study, the researchers considered that different products contained different concentrations of minoxidil.
In one part of the study, the researchers compared the prices of “extra-strength” products sold to men with the prices of “regular-strength” products sold to women. In both cases, the products were to be applied twice daily. They found that the prices of these two types of product were almost the same: about $7.60 per 30 mL, on average, even though the “extra-strength” product contained 5-percent minoxidil and the “regular-strength” product contained 2-percent minoxidil.
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