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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Healthcare players brainstorm GST issues


The Malaysian Reserve | March 4, 2014

By John Gilbert

KUALA LUMPUR: Manufacturers, importers and healthcare services providers raised clouding issues pertaining to the Goods and Services Tax (GST), touching on areas on supply of drugs to hospitals, medical insurance claims and related matters that are GST exempted in the healthcare sector.

The discussion was presented by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Tax Services Sdn Bhd executive director Tan Eng Yew who presented a series of slides explaining the GST mechanism in the healthcare sector.

“We see some concerns raised, for example, how would doctors bill their patients as consultancy services are not GST taxable while medication is taxable,” he told delegates at the dialogue entitled GST: Healthcare with Deloitte at the European Union-Malaysia Chamber of Commerce & Industry office in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

The discussion also streamlined the definition of standard-rated items, zero-rated items and exempt items and during the sharing session, delegates shared views on how the GST affects their businesses and the healthcare sector as a whole.

“How badly you are affected by the GST is how well you pass on the tax to the consumer, and in some cases, we must be aware that such actions cannot be done if the price of drugs is controlled and regulated.

“However, the GST system, once it comes to full force, will evolve and change over time as many people will lobby on it,” Tan said during his presentation.

The dialogue also raised discussion points on the impact of the GST on pharmaceutical companies who are supplying to government and private hospitals, discounts and rebates, medical insurance claims and sponsorships, donations and related points within the healthcare sphere.

In November last year, Health Minister Dr S Subramaniam said healthcare costs will not be impacted by the GST as healthcare is GST-exempted.

He said the ministry is carrying out in-depth studies on the GST structure within the healthcare services and health products that are exempted from the GST for public consumption.

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