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Commentary

Death and Taxes: The Impact of Taxes and Other Government Barriers to Access
Benedict Irvine, International Policy Network, 8-1-04

Tariffs and Value Added Taxes (VAT) in many poor countries are a significant factor in the price consumers pay for drugs — and consequently can limit access to life-saving medicines and devastate public health. Total duties and other taxes in poor nations range from a low of 0.01% in Malaysia to a crippling 55% in India. The global average is 18%, although "this probably underestimates the true impact of government on the cost of medicines because it fails to account for the regulatory barriers." Taxes on life-saving medicines in poor countries are highly regressive and have not received the attention or criticism they properly deserve. Kudos to the Campaign for Fighting Diseases for brining this important fact to the world’s attention.


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