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Implement VAT exemption on drugs—Gatchalian

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Updated on February 25 // 11: 36 PM

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Sunday urged drugstores and other retailers of pharmaceuticals to immediately implement the exemption from value-added tax (VAT) of specific medicines.

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. This should be implemented soon for the benefit of our people, especially the sick,” 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.

In the same vein, 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.

 “The public should be alert to the price of medicines they are buying. The VAT exemption should appear on the receipt,” he emphasized. The legislator particularly mentioned senior citizens, persons with disabilities, and those with existing medical conditions.


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