§ 53. Lieut.-Colonel Sir Thomas Moore
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that, under Notice No. 78N, issued by the Commissioner of Customs and Excise, elaborate rules have been laid down as to the manner in which medicines and drugs must be packed if the contents are to be free of Purchase Tax, and as under these rules a person buying 100 aspirin tablets sold under a brand name is obliged to pay the full rate of tax, but a bottle of 150 of the same tablets obtained by means of a prescription from a medical practitioner is free of tax, if he will revise these rules.
§ Mr. Jay
The exemption from Purchase Tax explained in Notice 78N meets the request made during discussion on the last Finance Bill that certain proprietary drugs should be freed from Purchase Tax when supplied on a doctor's prescription. The exemption was granted by the Purchase Tax (No. 1) Order, 1949 (S.I. 1949, No. 46) which has been before the House.
§ Sir T. Moore
Why this senseless discrimination in regard to the purchase of the same drug by different methods?
§ Mr. Stanley
Is not the Economic Secretary fully aware that from this side of the House we protested against the whole system of the tax being levied on these medical articles merely because they were proprietary; and that we asked that the tax should depend entirely upon whether in fact they were essential and useful for health purposes?