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Commentary

Taxed to Death
Jasson Urbach, Richard Tren, Roger Bate, AEI-Brookings Joint Center for Regulatory Studies, 4-21-05

This report documents how poor nations inhibit access to life-saving medicines through tariffs and taxes on imports that make them prohibitively expensive.

While aid has increased in recent years and the price of many drugs has fallen, access to medicines and devices has not increased greatly. There are numerous reasons for this. The major one, discussed in this paper, is the barrier imposed by recipient countries themselves. For example the combined tax and tariff barrier in India until recently was over 60% and in Morocco it currently stands at 38%. Only just over a third of Indians have access to essential drugs and it is likely that a reduction of these financial impediments would increase access. Removal of these barriers would therefore likely save thousands of lives across the developing world.


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