Medical equipment supply firms call for lower tax

Tax on medical devices and equipment has increased cost of healthcare. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Medical equipment companies have asked the Government to reduce taxes on their products, saying the current levies are a major hindrance to the achievement of universal healthcare in the country.

Mission for Essential Drugs and Supplies (MEDS) managing director Jane Masiga says tax on medical devices and equipment had increased cost of healthcare, in the process locking out a huge proportion of the population.

“Simple products like gloves are taxed yet they are very essential in the healthcare system,” Dr Masiga said during the Health Systems Strengthening Award ceremony held at MEDS’ offices in Nairobi on Friday.

“The Government can assist in lowering costs of access by relooking at the tax regime on pharmaceutical products.”

During the event, MEDS, a leading supplier of essential medicines and medical supplies in the region, launched a new range of high-tech equipment that it hopes to supply to the local hospitals.


Some of the medical equipment launched include baby resuscitative, dental units, LED theatre operating lights, haematology analysers, anesthesia machine and patient monitors.

She said with the advance in technology, medical devices offer great benefits to people, across the world. “The field of medical devices is large, diverse, competitive, and highly innovative,” Dr Masiga added.

“It is also an area of great promise with a unique number of problems and challenges.”

She said strengthening of health care systems will benefit the country by ensuring health for all and delivering Universal Health Coverage which is part of the government’s Big 4 agenda.

She said collaboration between suppliers, hospitals and financial institutions would a have a greater impact on delivering quality and affordable healthcare services.

“We are confident that these supplies and equipment will be used appropriately and that health services for members of the general public will be improved as a result,” she added.