KUALA LUMPUR: The Government has been urged to exempt all scheduled medicines from the Goods and Services Tax (GST) when it is enforced next April.
Sibu DAP MP Oscar Ling said this is to prevent price disparity between Government and private pharmacies.
Speaking to reporters at Parliament lobby, Thursday, Ling said all scheduled medicines should be zero-rated instead of selectively.
"Most flu and cough medicines used in community pharmacies or private clinics are under 6% GST," he noted.
He added that at the moment, the zero-rated medicines are limited to items used mostly in hospitals, but is not applied to the private sector, which has been subjected to GST.
He said although the Government has zero-rated items listed in the National Essential Medicines List 4th Edition, it only covers less than 13% of all the medicines.
“About 87% of essential medicines incur 6% GST,” he said, adding this would be against the Malaysian National Medicines Policy (Dunas) on affordable and quality medicines.
He also pointed out that all scheduled medicines have not been subjected to any tax since 1957.
“There is neither sale tax nor service tax for any scheduled medicines which are registered under the Sale of Drugs Act 1952, and the Control of Medicines and Cosmetics Regulations 1984.
“GST will certainly increase cost of medicines,” he added.