MANILA–GOVERNOR Imee Marcos called for a review of the Cheaper Medicines Act
as she pushed for the exemption from the value added tax (VAT) of all medical drugs
to make health services more affordable to the Filipino people.

Marcos has been proposing the removal of the VAT imposed on medical drugs to
bring down the prices of medicines and make them more accessible to the poor.

“Para sa darating na taon, nais kong tuluyan ng mawalan ng VAT ang mga gamot sa
2019. Kung matatanggal ang VAT sa gamot, bababa ang presyo ng mga ito at higit
na maraming mga kababayan nating mahihirap ang makakabili nito,” Marcos said.

She lamented the Cheaper Medicines Act, or the Universally Accessible Cheaper
and Quality Medicines Act of 2008, failed to make medicines more affordable to the
people because of provisions included in the law that favor the interests of big
pharmaceutical companies in the country.

“We need to revise the Cheaper Medicines Act and make it more people-friendly.
Ang daming nag-lobby na ibat-ibang sectors nung ginagawa ang batas kaya hindi
nito nakamit ang tunay niyang vision – ang ibaba ang presyo ng mga gamot para
mas maraming Pilipino ang makabili nito,” Marcos said.

The Cheaper Medicines Act was enacted into law with the end goal of making
medicines more affordable and accessible to the people, especially the poor who
cannot afford to buy expensive prescription drugs for their illnesses.

But 10 years after the law was passed, prices of medical drugs, especially for critical
diseases and illnesses, remain exorbitant.

Marcos said one way to bring down the prices of medicines is by removing the VAT
imposed on all medical drugs.

She said the VAT exemption on the sale of vital medicines for diabetes, cholesterol
and hypertension will not be enough.

“Hindi sapat ang VAT exemption sa mga gamot para sa diabetes, cholesterol at
hypertension. Kailangan lahat ng gamot ay maging VAT exempt na para bumaba
ang presyo nila,” she stressed.

The Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act, or TRAIN law, mandates the
removal of the 12 percent VAT on medicines for diabetes, high cholesterol and
hypertension. The exemption takes effect on January 1, 2019.

The VAT exemption will apply to the “sale by manufacturers, distributors,
wholesalers and retailers” of the medicines, which will be identified by the Food and
Drug Authority.

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