BIR expands list of meds exempted from VAT

Louise Maureen Simeon - The Philippine Star
BIR expands list of meds exempted from VAT
Photo from Pixabay shows various kinds of medicines.

MANILA, Philippines —  The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has issued the updated list of value-added tax (VAT)-exempt medicines for various diseases such as cancer and hypertension.

In its latest revenue memorandum circular, BIR approved the list of the 12 percent VAT-exempt products under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Law and the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act.

This comes after the Food and Drug Administration of the Department of Health endorsed the updated list.

The circular covered the inclusion of certain medicines for cancer, hypertension and mental illness.

A total of 20 drugs were added to the list, 12 of which are for the treatment of cancer.

Some four kinds of medicines are meant for hypertension. The BIR also approved four more drugs for mental illnesses.

Dosage of the medicines is in the form of capsules, lyophilized powder for intravenous infusion, tablets, powder concentrate and solution for injection.

Just a little over a month ago, the BIR included 16 VAT-exempt medicines for cancer, diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension, kidney disease, mental illness and tuberculosis.

It was in January 2019 when the government started implementing the VAT exemption for prescription drugs used to treat cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.

The VAT exemptions apply to the sale by manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers and retailers of the medicines.

The VAT exemption aims to make certain medicines more affordable to consumers.

Latest data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed that the top three causes of death in the country from January to September last year were heart disease, cancer and cerebrovascular disease, accounting for a combined 40 percent of mortality.

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