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It’s Time to Stop Taxing Drugs in Poor Countries

This is one tax cut everyone should support
 Listen to streaming audio of this column | MP3

You may have heard that the poorest people in many developing countries have trouble affording prescription drugs.

But did you know that many of those countries slap an import tax on drugs — which can be as high as 38 percent — even when a drug company is providing them free?

What’s more, some countries tack a sales tax on medical products. China’s is 17 percent.

So poor countries ask for medicines, and then many of them impose an import duty, which raises the cost to the very poor people the drug companies are trying to help.

America, Switzerland and Singapore are now insisting that developing countries eliminate those tariffs and duties on imported medications.

Eliminating that practice is one tax cut everyone should support.

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Written By

Merrill Matthews is a resident scholar with the Institute for Policy Innovation in Dallas, Texas. Follow him on Twitter: @MerrillMatthews.

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