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Bacolod City, Philippines Thursday, January 17, 2019
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DOH eyes VAT-exempt
cancer medications, too


The Department of Health (DOH) yesterday said it is pushing for the exemption from value-added tax (VAT) of medications for cancer patients.

DOH Undersecretary Eric Domingo said there is now a "strong clamor" from non-government organizations (NGOs) for VAT exemption of cancer medications following the removal of tax for diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol medicines.

"We are discussing with an inter-agency working group the VAT exemption of medicines for cancer. This is really where we have very strong patient groups and NGOs that are working with us,” Domingo said in a press briefing in Malacañang.

“We are looking at options on how we can include in the exemption these cancer medicines," he added.

Earlier, the Department of Finance announced the exemption from VAT of medicines for diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol, in line with the implementation of Republic Act 10963, popularly known as Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law.

Food and Drug Administration Director General Nela Charade Puno said the government will make sure that pharmacies will comply with the ‘VAT-exempt’ medicines.

Puno said cheaper medicines will curb the selling of counterfeit drugs.

"Food and Drug Administration will be very, very active that the implementation of) VAT exempt will not only lower the prices of medicines, but also to ensure the quality of the medicines you buy," she said.

Domingo advised the public to always check the “VAT-exempt” mark in the official receipt once they buy their medicines.

"Patients with prescriptions for these medicines may avail of the VAT exemption; manufacturers, distributors or wholesalers or retailers may also avail of the VAT exemption on their sales of drugs provided that they are already in the final consumable form — those already in tablet form," he said.

DOF Assistant Secretary Tony Lambino said a healthy population is key to having a strong economy.

"We know that many Filipinos allocate a large chunk of their budget for maintenance medicines for the said diseases," he said.*PNA


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