Lower taxes to improve access to medicines
Posted on 9 February 2010
A recent article in Medicine Pricing Matters, published by Health Action International, raises the important issue about taxes on medicines. They argue that this issue is often overlooked when policies and strategies about medicines prices are scrutinised. When governments impose taxes and duties on essential medicines, are they hindering access to essential medicines?
The article suggests that ‘import duties, value added tax (VAT) and other government-imposed duties and charges on medicines can significantly increase the final price patients pay.’ The removal of a 12 percent tax on a particular medicine can make a significant difference as to whether poor people can afford to purchase treatment or not.
The article continues that some governments have abolished certain taxes on medicines. For example, in Tajikistan 20 percent VAT was removed, however other taxes and government charges still remain.
Read the full article