News and Insights

Singapore Tax Authority Clarifies that GST Relief is Granted for Certain Medicinal Products

Tax Development Dec 13, 2016

The Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (“IRAS”) has recently clarified that GST relief is granted for medicinal products (including pharmaceutical products) imported into Singapore as long as they are for local clinical trials, re-export for overseas trials, or destruction/disposal.  The granting of this relief is to encourage that such clinical trial materials (imported by an overseas person through a local intermediary) are legally traded or sold in Singapore and should not be used for private consumption. 

Under this GST relief, no import GST is payable upfront on the importation of such products. This would greatly relieve businesses of any irrecoverable import 7% GST costs as well as to ease their compliance obligations.

From 1 November 2016, pharmaceutical products will be known as “therapeutic products” and be regulated under the Health Products Act (HPA). For other types of medicinal products, they will continue to be regulated under the Medicines Act. Notwithstanding this change, GST relief will continue to apply to:

(a) Medicinal products and therapeutic products imported into Singapore for use in local regulated clinical trials;

(b) Therapeutic products imported for re-export for overseas clinical trials; and

(c) Medicinal products and therapeutic products imported for destruction/disposal in Singapore.

(Source: IRAS e-tax guide 11 November 2016)