Supplements out of reach for many people

Oct 1, 2019

Higher cost could put beneficial supplements out of reach for many people.

A leading Irish academic has expressed serious concerns at plans to impose taxation on food supplements. Professor John Nolan, founder of the Nutrition Research Centre Ireland stated, “Our research has extensively studied the role of Nutrition in Vision and the prevention of blindness and identifies how targeted supplementation can help to retain visual function for the large number of Irish people afflicted with age-related macular degeneration”.

AMD is the leading cause of sight loss in the over 50s in Ireland. Professor Nolan’s extensive research, which has been presented numerous times internationally, has shown that certain supplements particularly carotenoids can significantly help to enhance and protect vision in patients with AMD.

“Beginning the use of these supplements early is vital, as is continuing to take them on an ongoing basis. Their cost is a significant factor on people continuing with their use, any level of taxation on these products is a step in the wrong direction and needs to be weighed against the enormous cost of treatment for conditions such as AMD. As things stand these supplements are available to people at their own expense – the cost is not supported by the State but at least it is not being taxed. The very idea of taxing them in a similar way as fizzy drinks, burgers and chips etc would be a massive mistake and could put severe hardship on the people who find them essential to reduce their risk of blindness.”

“I have been contacted by people who need to use these supplements and they are extremely worried by the prospect of a significant price increase. We have quite rightly seen the Government introduce a tax on sugary drinks as a means of discouraging their consumption. It makes no sense to introduce an across the board Tax on Food Supplements some of which can have a very positive effect on conditions such as AMD and therefore could in fact be a help to the Exchequer in saving money on massively expensive future treatments”.

Professor John Nolan

Professor John Nolan

The founder of the Nutrition Research Centre Ireland, a multidisciplinary group studying the role of nutrition and lifestyle for human well-being.

At an event in Leinster House today to highlight how Ireland benefits from European Union membership, Professor Nolan reiterated his opposition to the imposition of VAT on food supplements that have a proven medicinal benefit for patients with AMD.

Professor Nolan is available for comment.

For further information, please contact:
Ben Connolly, Drury Porter Novelli
087 – 281 9467

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