Cut meds prices after VAT exemption, drug sellers prodded

February 25, 2024 Camille P. Balagtas 87 views

SENATOR Sherwin Gatchalian urged drugstores and other retailers of pharmaceuticals to implement as soon as possible the exemption from value-added tax (VAT) of specific medicines for the benefit of consumers.

A total of 22 medicines were added to the existing list of over 2,000 VAT-exempt drugs designed for the prevention and management of diabetes, hypertension, cancer, high cholesterol, mental illnesses, tuberculosis, and kidney diseases, as well as medicines and medical devices specifically used for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19.

“Given the high prices of basic commodities, it is important that affordable medicines are made available to those who have existing medical conditions. Dapat itong maipatupad sa lalong madaling panahon para sa kapakinabangan ng ating mga mamamayan, lalo na ang mga may sakit,” Gatchalian said.

The senator made the call after the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) issued Revenue Memorandum Circular No. 17, series of 2024, containing the list of additional medicines to be covered by VAT exemption as provided by Republic Act 10963 or the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act, of which Gatchalian is a co-author. The VAT exemption for these medicines is also stipulated in Republic Act No. 11534, or the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Act.

Gatchalian also urged the consuming public to remain vigilant and ensure that they are paying the discounted rates for medicines listed. The VAT exemption for these medicines took effect on Feb. 19.