Nonprescription drugs and medications are now exempt from taxation, Gov. Dannel Malloy announced Wednesday.
The new law reverses a piece of legislation passed in 2011 that placed a sales tax on nonprescription drugs and medications. The new policy went into effect Wednesday, relieving designated products from the previous 6.35 percent sales and use tax.
“Making nonprescription medications exempt from the sales tax will mean lower costs for consumers while ultimately leading to a better public health outcome for all,” Malloy said in a press release. “Preventative care is a necessity, and by eliminating these sales taxes, we are helping our residents save some money, stay healthy and improve quality of life.”
The new policy is a result of a state law that Malloy signed in 2014. Items that are now sales tax-free include vitamins, antihistamines, cough, cold, asthma and allergy medicines, pain relievers, antacids and other similar medications. Prescription medications were already exempt from sales taxes.
The Connecticut Department of Revenue Services published an online document detailing which types of products are included in the recently enacted exemption. The document splits these nonprescription drugs into several categories, such as antiseptics, steroidal medicines and dietary supplements. The tax exemption does not cover contraceptive products, diuretics or sanitary napkins and tampons. However, diet and weight loss products, as well as nutritional food drinks, powders and bars, will be exempt.
“This tax exemption provides consumers relief against rising costs, and we applaud Governor Malloy’s leadership in introducing and signing this bill,” Consumer Protection Commissioner Jonathan Harris said in an email. “This measure will help consumers buy the medicines they need to stay healthy and active.”
Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman said in the press release that Connecticut’s leadership in healthcare “means stronger families and a more competitive economy.”
Vincent Candelora, a state representative on the public health and regulations review committees, said he supports the tax exemption.
“It is important for necessities, such as clothing, food, and medication to be exempt from taxation,” Candelora said. “Otherwise, it hurts low-income people.”
Ten other states exempt nonprescription drugs from taxation.