The current VAT on condoms has been described as a ‘tax on safe sex' by pharmacists.
According to the Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU), the Government should eliminate VAT on condoms as part of its efforts to make contraception more affordable and accessible.
The union made its call as part of its pre-Budget submission.
"The Government has a stated objective to improve access to contraception and to reduce the rate of unplanned pregnancy. This also aligns with the strategy to improve sexual health in Ireland.
"There is currently a VAT rate of 13.5% on condoms, which is counterproductive and goes against these ambitions. This is essentially a tax on safe sex, and we are calling on the Minister for Finance to abolish it in the upcoming Budget," commented pharmacist and IPU member, Caitriona O'Riordan.
She pointed out that condoms are the best protection against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and can also reduce the risk of unplanned pregnancies.
"Reducing the cost of condoms and improving ease of access will increase their use, particularly among younger adults where cost has the biggest impact," Ms O'Riordan said.
The IPU is also again calling on the Government to put a scheme in place to enable women to be able to obtain oral contraception, i.e. the pill, directly from their pharmacist, without prescription or charge.
"Access to birth control is a major public health issue because of the risk of unwanted pregnancies. By making birth control easier and more convenient to obtain, more women will have access to it, which should result in reduced rates of unintended pregnancy.
"There are no clinical reasons why oral contraceptives should still require a prescription. The oral contraceptive is one of the safest and most well studied medicines available," Ms O'Riordan insisted.
Budget 2019 will be announced on October 9.
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