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The EU should consistently charge no VAT on medicine

Date

05 Nov 2020

Sections

Health & Consumers

Brussels, BE - In a recent move, the European Commission has suggested to EU member states to exempt COVID-19 diagnostic medical devices, as well as a potential vaccine, from value-added tax. The Consumer Choice Center (CCC) welcomes this decision, since it incentivises a move to alleviate some of the burdens of patients and consumers as they deal with the pandemic. The CCC's Managing Director and Health Economist Fred Roeder says that the EU should be more ambitious with regards to medicines:

"Members states would be right to implement VAT exemptions on medicines, not just in times of a crisis. Too many patients in Europe pay too much for needed medicines because the government is taking too big of a cut. Some member states charge as much as 25% for both over-the-counter (OTC) medicine as well as prescription drugs. This burden health insurance providers and patients alike", says Roeder.

"We should take the positive example of Malta, which is the only member state that charges no VAT for either OTC or prescription medicine, yet still manages to provide basic services to citizens. If we want to fund government services, we shouldn't do it on the backs of patients who need medicine."

"We experience this great double standard in Europe: politicians of major parties complain about the price of drugs on the continent, yet simultaneously charge large chunks of tax on the same drugs. It is time we end this inconsistency", concludes Roeder.

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