The Department of Finance (DOF) released in January 2019 a list of VAT-free medicines for hypertension, diabetes, and high cholesterol levels.
On the first day of the year 2019, an amendment to Republic Act 10963—popularly known as the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Law or TRAIN—removed value-added taxes (VAT) from certain ailment-specific medications.
The removal of VAT from these medications for hypertension, diabetes, and high cholesterol was made possible by the amendment of Section 34 of TRAIN and stipulated under Section 109(AA) of the National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC).
The DOF posted the announcement as early as December 27, 2018, via an image post on their Facebook page.
The image post also showed that the departments tasked to implement the law under Joint Administrative Order No. 2-2018. These are the DOF, Department of Health (DOH), Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Hypertension, diabetes, and high cholesterol are called noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). These three conditions alone are estimated to take the lives of 300,000 Filipinos annually.
A survey done by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) in 2018 showed that the three leading causes of death in the country are ischemic heart disease, cancer, and pneumonia.
Though the NCDs mentioned above are not among the leading causes of Filipino deaths, they still impact the health and quality of living of many Filipinos in every walk of life.
The removal of the 12% VAT and the corresponding drop in prices to control these conditions is still of great help to those who have it. This amendment to TRAIN will help reduce their expenses in the face of the rising prices of commodities.