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  • Stakeholders commend government for scrapping taxes on medicines
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    The government last March announced a string of taxes it intended abolishing in the country during the 2017 Budget Statement presentation which occurred in parliament. Of note was a decision to scrap a longstanding 17.5% levy on imported finished pharmaceutical products not locally manufactured in the country.      

    In response to the development, some stakeholders lauded the new government for carrying through a promise it had made in the run up to last year's election. Pharm. Sammuel Donkor, the current chairman for Pharmaceutical Importers and Wholesalers Association (PIWA) in an interview with our correspondent commended the government for taking such a bold initiative. "This is great news for the pharmaceutical industry and the patient," adding that it holds the potential to improve healthcare delivery by improving access to medicines. In his estimation, the development should reduce the cost of medicines by  20 to 30% given the fact that about 80% of medicines consumed in the country are imported finished pharmaceuticals.

    He however charged the PSGH to pay a keen interest on the issue of taxes removal on medicines. He said that for the wider public to benefit from this initiative, it was important for the PSGH to sustain its advocacy efforts leading to the inclusion of a remarkable number of medicines in the non-taxable bracket.

    For patients to benefit from the windfalls of this initiative, he said his association together with other stakeholders in the industry made a firm commitment to the government. "We are setting up a committee to ensure that patients ultimately benefit from the relief associated with the abortion of taxes on medicines."

    Last year, amidst the electioneering campaign, the NPP which was then in opposition party made it a stump speech to pare back a number of taxes it considered inimical to the growth of the private sector and fiscal discipline.  Parliament last month approved a bill, Special Import (Amendment) Bill together with other bills to pave way for the tax cuts contained in the budget.