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Cystic Fibrosis: Drugs

Treasury written question – answered on 24th October 2019.

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Photo of Stephen Morgan Stephen Morgan Shadow Minister for Local Government (Communities)

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will made an assessment of the potential merits of waiving tax on generic versions of lifesaving cystic fibrosis drugs entering the UK from Argentina until an agreement between NHS England and Vertex can be agreed.

Photo of Jesse Norman Jesse Norman The Financial Secretary to the Treasury

UK Government policy is that there is no VAT on drugs prescribed by a qualified professional. HM Treasury keeps all taxes under review but there are no plans to extend the zero rate to other products at this time.

EU trade policy applies to the UK until the UK leaves the EU. The “Common Customs Tariff” must be applied by all EU members to the import of goods into the EU. The European Commission negotiates trade agreements and manages the tariff.

In March, the Government announced the Temporary Tariff Regime for the import of goods to the UK in the event of a no deal Brexit. In October, the Government confirmed this policy. The rates contained within the Temporary Tariff Regime would apply for a period of up to 12 months. Under the Temporary Tariff Regime, imports of medicinal drugs will be eligible for tariff-free access. During this temporary period, the Government will undertake a full public consultation to inform the UK’s permanent tariff policy.

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