Community Pharmacy

Pharmacists welcome Revenue update on VAT treatment of food supplements

The Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU) has welcomed the decision by the Revenue Commissioners to delay the imposition of VAT on food supplements.

For the last 40 years, the majority of food supplements supplied by pharmacies in Ireland, such as vitamins, minerals and fish oil products, have been exempt from VAT on the basis that they encourage the maintenance of health, through the sustenance derived from a normal, healthy diet.

Welcoming the announcement, IPU Secretary General Darragh O’Loughlin said, “The threatened imposition of a VAT rate of 23% on various vitamins and food supplements had understandably led to a great deal of concern among the public. Applying 23% VAT across the board on all food supplements would negatively impact their affordability for less well-off people, the elderly, or those with ongoing health issues, who are trying to maintain their health.

“Diet, exercise and food supplements have become important areas in supporting general wellbeing and introducing this additional cost would be an extra burden on people who require food supplements for health reasons and are taking them under the recommendation of a health professional.

“We welcome the decision of the Revenue Commissioners to delay the implementation of these changes to provide an opportunity for a wider consultation.  The IPU looks forward to engaging, along with other stakeholder bodies, in the proposed consultation”.

Irish pharmacy chain CarePlus’ Commercial Director Niamh Lynch also commented “At CarePlus, many of our customers purchase vitamins on the recommendation from their GP’s and healthcare providers. For some consumers, the price escalation might be a barrier to maintaining good health and self-care. Efforts should be made to relieve an overburdened health system and not tax efforts to remain healthy.”

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