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Blood Products

Volume 403: debated on Monday 7 April 2003

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To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make it his policy to bring the level of VAT on recombinant blood products in line with that in other European countries. [107589]

Along with other EU member states, the UK exempts from VAT human blood, and human blood components and derivatives when these are used for therapeutic purposes. Synthetic 'blood' products, such as those that are genetically engineered, are not exempt from VAT because of long-standing formal agreements with our European partners. Some recombinant blood products are therefore liable to VAT at the standard rate. However, when dispensed to a patient by a pharmacist on the prescription of a medical practitioner, recombinant blood products are zero-rated for VAT.The European Commission and member states, including the UK, have considered whether the exemption for human blood products should be extended to cover chemically-produced derivatives and synthetic blood products. The European Commission has not yet brought forward proposals for change in this area.