THE Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) said its updated list of medicines exempt from value-added tax (VAT) includes 25 cancer treatments.

It also added to the exempt list of drugs treating hypertension, cancer, mental illness, tuberculosis, kidney diseases, diabetes, and high cholesterol.

Under the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act, approved drugs, medicines, vaccines and medical devices are to be considered exempt from VAT, as identified by the Food and Drug Administration.

According to a circular, 25 medicines for cancer were added to the VAT-exempt list: Amivantamab, Anagrelide (as hydrochloride), Atezolizumab, Bendamustine Hydrochloride, Bleomycin (as sulfate), Bortezomib, Carfilzomib, Dasatinib, Docetaxel, Docetaxel (as Trihydrate), Doxorubicin Hydrochloride, Epirubicin (as hydrochloride), Epirubicin Hydrochloride, Etoposide, and Everolimus.

It also includes Ixazomib (as citrate), Irinotecan Hydrochloride, Lapatinib (as ditosylate monohydrate), Oxaliplatin, Paclitaxel, Pemetrexed (as Disodium Hemipentahydrate), Ruxolitinib (as Phosphate), Triptorelin (as Embonate), and Vinorelbine (as tartrate).

Diabetes drugs added to the VAT-exempt list are Dapagliflozin + Metformin Hydrochloride, Dapagliflozin + Metformin Hydrochloride (in extended-release form), Evogliptin (as tartrate), Gliclazide + Metformin Hydrochloride, Insulin Glargine, Metformin hydrochloride + Glibenclamide, Sitagliptin (as phosphate monohydrate) + Metformin Hydrochloride, Sitagliptin (as phosphate) + Metformin Hydrochloride, and Vildagliptin. 

It also added medicines for high cholesterol such as Fenofibrate and Inclisiran (as sodium).

New medicines for hypertension considered exempt from VAT are Amlodipine (as besilate) + Bisoprolol fumarate, Irbesartan + Amlodipine (as besilate), Losartan (as Potassium), Losartan Potassium + Hydrochlorothiazide + Amlodipine (as besilate), Macitentan, and Nebivolol (as Hydrochloride).

VAT-exempt medicines for kidney disease include Alpha Ketoanalogues + Essential Amino Acids, Epoetin Alfa (Recombinant Human Erythropoietin), Everolimus, Mycophenolate Mofetil, Peritoneal Dialysis Solution Low Calciyum with 1.5% or 4.25% Dextrose, Peritoneal Dialysis Solution with 2.3% Dextrose, Potassium Citrate, Sevelarmer (as Carbonate), and Spherical Carbon Adsorbent.

Also added to the list were medicines for mental illnesses such as Agomelatine, Aripiprazole, Midazolam (as Hydrochloride) and Venlafaxine (as hydrochloride).

Bedaquiline (as Fumarate), a tuberculosis treatment, was also deemed VAT-exempt.

In the circular, the BIR also removed Ixekizumab from the VAT-exempt list. It had previously been among the exempt cancer medicines.

“Upon evaluation of the certificate of product registration and package insert of the abovementioned drug product, it was noted that it is approved as Interleukin Inhibitor indicated for the treatment of moderate to severe plaque psoriasis in adults who are candidates for systemic therapy. Hence, the product is not classified as a treatment for cancer,” it added.

It also corrected the name of a previously listed hypertension drug, Metoprolol. The correct name is Metoprolol Succinate. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson