Alisin ang VAT sa mental health meds, alisin ang sakit sa bulsa: Kiko

Pangilinan bats for VAT exemptions on mental health medicines

Alisin ang VAT sa mental health meds, alisin ang sakit sa bulsa: Kiko

MANILA — In order to make medicines affordable for Filipinos suffering from mental health conditions, Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan seeks to exempt mental health medicines from value-added tax (VAT).

“Sa pagsasabatas ng Mental Health Act, kinikilala ang agarang pangangailangan ng mga Pilipinong may mental health condition sa de-kalidad na tulong medikal. Mahalaga na mapaabot sa kanila ang abot-kayang mga gamot para sa kanilang karamdaman (The passage of the Mental Health Act recognizes the urgent need of Filipinos with mental health conditions for quality medical care. It is important that they get access to affordable medicines for their condition),” said Pangilinan.

In Senate Bill 258, Pangilinan introduces further amendments to the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997 exempting drugs and medicines prescribed for mental health conditions from VAT.

Citing a 2007 World Health Organization (WHO) study, Pangilinan noted in the explanatory note of the bill that “the cost of antipsychotic medication is 0.46% and antidepressant medication is 11.14% of the daily minimum wage.”

He also noted that the cost of drugs and medicines prescribed for mental health conditions are not covered by the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation.

Mental health conditions are the third most common forms of disease for Filipinos at 14% of all diseases, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA). It also says that between 17% to 20% of Filipino adults and between 10% to 15% of Filipino children suffer from mental health conditions.

“Bilang isa sa mga pinaka-karaniwang karamdaman ng mga Pilipino, dapat prayoridad ang abot-kayang gamot bilang suporta sa mga dumaranas ng ganitong karamdaman. Alisin na natin ang VAT sa mental health medicines. Alisin natin ang sakit sa bulsa nila (As one of the most common illnesses of Filipinos, affordable medicines should be a priority for those suffering from them. Remove the VAT on mental health medicines. Remove the pain on their pockets),” Pangilinan said.