FDA and BIR Collaborate to Lower Drug Costs for Seniors

FDA Director-General Samuel Zacate. Photo from Food and Drug Administration
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The FDA and BIR Collaborate to Make Essential Medicines More Affordable for Senior Citizens

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is working closely with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to ensure that senior citizens have access to affordable essential medicines. This collaborative effort aims to exempt certain medicines from the Value-Added Tax (VAT) in accordance with the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Act.

FDA Director General Samuel Zacate emphasized the importance of this partnership during a recent news forum. He explained that the exemption for VAT is made possible through the CREATE Act, which requires the FDA to declare the medicines eligible for exemption and endorse them to the BIR for the removal of VAT.

The CREATE Act, also known as Republic Act 11534, specifically provides VAT exemption for medicines used in the treatment of hypertension, cancer, mental illnesses, tuberculosis, kidney diseases, diabetes, high cholesterol, as well as drugs and medical devices for the treatment of the coronavirus disease. This legislation aims to alleviate the financial burden on senior citizens who rely on these essential medicines for their well-being.

In accordance with the CREATE Act, the FDA has been tasked with identifying and transmitting a list of approved medicines for VAT exemption to other implementing agencies, such as the BIR. This collaborative process between the FDA and the BIR ensures that the mechanism for VAT exemption is properly implemented.

Director General Zacate further explained that once the BIR issues a directive, the identified medicines will automatically be exempted from VAT. The implementation of this exemption will be strictly enforced to ensure that senior citizens can avail themselves of the benefits provided by the law.

It is worth noting that this initiative aligns with President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s commitment to supporting senior citizens. Last month, President Marcos Jr. ordered the FDA to implement a 20 percent discount and VAT exemption for senior citizens under Republic Act 9994, also known as the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010. This directive further emphasizes the government’s dedication to improving the accessibility and affordability of essential medicines for senior citizens.

By collaborating with the BIR and implementing the necessary measures, the FDA is actively working towards making essential medicines more affordable for senior citizens. This joint effort between government agencies highlights the commitment to prioritize the well-being of senior citizens and ensure that they have access to the medicines they need to maintain their health.

In conclusion, the FDA’s collaboration with the BIR to exempt certain medicines from VAT demonstrates the government’s commitment to making essential medicines more affordable for senior citizens. Through the implementation of the CREATE Act and the involvement of various agencies, senior citizens can benefit from VAT exemption and avail themselves of the necessary medicines for their well-being. This initiative reflects the government’s dedication to supporting the health and welfare of senior citizens in the country.

Source: The Manila Times

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