• The VAT on medicines

    November 25, 2014

    The VAT on medicines is one of the burning issues that politicians have to solve. According to patient organizations and the Bulgarian Pharmaceutical Union it is unacceptable to pay 20 per cent VAT on drugs in Bulgaria, while in Greece the levy is 6%, and in Romania – 9%. In the other countries of the European Union the average amount of value added taxes on medicines is about 5-6%, said Assoc. Prof. Ilko Getov, President of the Bulgarian Pharmaceutical Association. In Spain it is 4%, in the Czech Republic and Hungary – 5%, in Greece – 6%. In most countries the VAT on medicines varies. In France, the total VAT is 19.6%, but on medicines it is 5.5. Similar is the situation in Poland and Hungary.

    If the tax rate in the country is halved there will remain 100 million BGN in the Health Insurance Fund per year, which will cover other needs related to the health of Bulgarian citizens.

    In the previous management of GERB there were two attempts made to reduce VAT on medicines. First – “Blue Coalition” proposed tax reduction on drugs from 20 to 9%, but it turned out to be incompatible with the financial policy of the Deputy Prime Minister Simeon Dyankov. The then existing Health Minister Desislava Atanasova expressed hope that the differentiated VAT rate for drugs can significantly reduce the prices of pills in Bulgaria. She even was optimistic that there a change will take place in the budget for 2014.

    Last week, the Parliament rejected the proposal made by “Ataka” for a zero rate VAT on medicines, textbooks and food produced in Bulgaria. If this proposal had been approved, this would have meant 1.2 billion BGN less budget revenue, according to estimates of the Finance Ministry, reminded us GERB.