Comply with VAT exemptions, drug sellers told

Comply with VAT exemptions, drug sellers told

By: - Reporter / @santostinaINQ
/ 05:25 AM February 26, 2024

PHOTO: Stock image of pills and capsules, with one hand holding a package. STORY: Comply with VAT exemptions, drug sellers told


MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian on Sunday urged drugstores and other pharmaceutical retailers to immediately comply with the law on the exemption from value-added tax (VAT) of specific medicines to benefit consumers.

“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 so that the public can benefit from it, especially the senior citizens, persons with disabilities, and those with existing medical conditions,” said Gatchalian in a statement.


Twenty-two more medicines for different diseases have been endorsed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for exemption from the value-added tax (VAT) to make them more accessible to consumers.


Under FDA Advisory No. 2024-0329, the regulatory body endorsed to the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) the inclusion of 14 drugs for cancer, four for hypertension, and four for mental illness in the list of medicines exempt from the 12-percent VAT.

Subsequently, the 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 No. 10963, or the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act.

The VAT exemption for these medicines is also stipulated in RA 11534, or the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act.

READ: Gatchalian urges drugstores, retailers to enact VAT removal of 22 medicines

The 22 medicines were in addition to the existing list of over 2,000 VAT-exempt drugs for the prevention and management of specific ailments, which include some of the most prevalent among the population, like diabetes, hypertension, cancer, high cholesterol, mental illnesses, tuberculosis and kidney diseases.

“The end goal of all of these actions is to make these life-saving drugs more accessible to those who need it. … [T]aking care of one’s health should not be an option,” said Sen. Sonny Angara in a separate statement.


The senators also urged the consuming public to remain vigilant and ensure 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 about the price of the medicines they bought. The VAT exemption should be indicated in the receipt of the medicines purchased,” Gatchalian said.

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TAGS: drugstores, Sherwin Gatchalian, VAT-exempted drugs

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