THE Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) said it updated the list of drugs exempt from value-added tax (VAT) to include treatments for cancer, diabetes, and hypertension.

In a memorandum circular, the BIR said other such medicines treat kidney disease, mental illness and tuberculosis (TB), as classified by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The update also features the removal of one hypertension drug from the list.

According to the circular, two medicines for cancer were added to the VAT-exempt list — Panitumumab and Fulvestrant.

It also added five diabetes medicines: Teneligliptin (as hydrobromide hydrate), Sitagliptin (as phosphate monohydrate) + Metformin Hydrochloride; Sitagliptin (50mg); Sitagliptin (100mg); and Metformin Hydrochloride.

It also included Atorvastatin Calcium and Atorvastatin + Fenofibrate, which are medicines for high cholesterol.

Also joining the VAT-exempt list are the hypertension drugs Clonidine hydrochloride in solution for injection and in tablet form; as well as Lisinopril as dihydrate in 5mg, 10mg, and 20mg tablets.

Medicines for kidney disease included Mannitol; Tolvaptan in 15mg and 30mg tablets; and Alpha Ketoanalogues + Essential Amino Acids.

It also added one medicine for mental illness, Desvenlafaxine (as succinate monohydrate) and two for tuberculosis, Bedaquiline (as Fumarate) and Isoniazid + Pyridoxine Hydrochloride.

Meanwhile, it removed from the VAT-exempt list Macitentan, a hypertension treatment.

The updated list will take effect upon the issuance of a FDA advisory, the BIR added. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson