Marcos seeks VAT exemption for prescriptive medicine

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 12 2019 03:24 PM

MANILA - Prescriptive medicine should be exempted from value-added tax, Senator Imee Marcos said Thursday, as the Senate continues to tackle taxation policies to fund universal health care.

Medicine for hypertension, diabetes and other maintenance drugs were earlier exempted from the indirect tax so why not do the same for prescriptive medicine, Marcos told reporters.

“Wala naman talagang gustong magkasakit at mangailangan ng gamot. At least bigyan natin ng konting tulong ang tao,” she said.

Marcos downplayed worries that reducing taxes on drugs would lead to less funds for the Department of Health (DOH).

“Natanggal yung [VAT] para sa maintenance. Wala naman nangyari, hindi naman bumagsak ang langit,” she said.

“Bakit tayo nagpapakamatay na pigain yung VAT kung hindi naman napupunta sa mga pasyente?” she said.

The Health Department should also come up with a more solid financial plan before asking for funds for its universal heath care program, the senator said.

“Dapat gumawa tayo ng plano para at least every year alam ng tao ano aasahan niya,” Marcos said.

“Wag naman natin linlangin yung tao na bukas makalawa, covered lahat,” she said.

In February, President Rodrigo Duterte signed the Universal Healthcare Act into law so Filipinos could receive free essential health services.

A Health official, however, had said several health care centers are still incapable of delivering services promised by the universal healthcare law.