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Clear the GST nightmare for healthcare retailers - keep it simple!

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61-2-42Θ-29Β6 RUTH E WILSON ENT PL HAfcifc t i l

MEDIA RELEASE: 3 1 / 5 /9 9

Complementary Healthcare Council of


National Secreiuriat Unit 6,18 Napier Clnxe DUKIN ACT 2600

PO Box w . DLlKIN.WEST ACT. 2600

Pk t-67 2 6260 4022

Fai: t6l 162004121


Advertising Clearance Section PO Box 226,


Pk +61 2 9975 1979


All complementary healthcare products currently on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG) should be GST exempt. This criterion is currently used as the basis to exempt these goods from the present wholesale sales tax.

All products on the ARTG have an “Aust L" or an “Ausi R” registered number printed on the label which would make tt vary clear and simple for retailers at point of sale as to which products in their stores were GST exempt.

The Complementary Healthcare Council of Australia (CHC) supports lax reform and welcomes the GST exemption on the services of appropriately qualified naturopaths, acupuncturists, herbalists and specific public health goods such as folate, which have been proven to prevent illness or disabilities.

"There is now good evidence to show that other products such as calcium, vitamin E, hypcricum and soy based products can play a vital role in reducing the risk of many serious diseases and conditions", says Val Johansen. CHC Executive Director.

“To exempt Schedule 2 and Schedule 3, prescription and pharmacy only products and not complementary' medicines absolutely discriminates against those who choose complementary medicines as part, of their healthcare, as well as those retailers who sell them'7. '

A Newspoll survey conducted in Nfarcli 1998, confirmed that 37% of the Australian population consumes Complementary Medicines on a regular basis. This is the same proportion that consumes prescription medicines. "

Responsible self-medication with complementary medicines is a cost-effective way of enhancing public health and alleviating the symptoms of a range of common health problems. Imposing a GST on complementary medicines would discourage use of these products and unnecessarily increase costs elsewhere in the health

system. .

There are numerous clinical trials to support the effectiveness of complementary medicines which receive no government financial support while prescription medicines are currently subsidised by the Australian Government to the tune of S2.8 billion dollars each year.

The CHC calls on the government to end the potential nightmare for Australian healthcare retailers by exempting those products that are already on the ARTG

For further details: Ruth E Wilson - CIIC M edia Office Tel: 02 9428 4775 Mobile: 0418 967473 Em ail:

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