Connecticut Eliminates Sales Tax to Host of Over-the-Counter Drugs

Connecticut will no longer apply a sales tax to a host of over-the-counter drugs and products in an effort to cut healthcare costs for consumers. The new law, effective April 1, was successfully pushed through the state legislature by Gov. Dan Malloy last year in accordance with his campaign promise to reduce the cost of medicine.

The removal of Connecticut’s 6.35 percent sales tax will save consumers a few cents on every dollar on over-the-counter medication purchased after the first of the month. A similar state law exists to prohibit taxation of prescription medication.

Some examples of the nonprescription medications exempt from the sales tax include: antacids, antibacterial medicines, allergy medication, dietary supplements, laxatives, vitamin or mineral concentrates and pain relievers such as aspirin or ibuprofen. Diet and weight-loss products, nutritional drinks and powders are exempt as well.

“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. 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,” Malloy said in a press release on April 1st.

The law reverses a state measure passed in 2011 that initiated a sales tax on over-the-counter medication to assist in closing the budget gap. Connecticut rejoins its regional neighbors Vermont and New York in states that do not tax these kinds of drugs.

The student response indicates the measure may have little effect on purchasing trends.

“I haven’t really paid attention the price of over the counter drugs. I don’t think a tax will really affect whether or not I’ll purchase them. If I need something, I’ll buy it, tax or not,” said sophomore computer science and engineering major Bryant Malloy.

Some students have expressed disappointment in the sales tax removal.

“In my opinion, it’s a lot easier to keep the blanket tax. The average person isn’t going to notice the few cents saved, but the state’s going to miss out on a lot of revenue,” said sophomore actuarial science major Ken De Carli.

Some common items specifically excluded from the tax exemption include cosmetics, caffeine supplements, dental care products, deodorants, hair care products, mouthwash, shaving products, soaps, tampons, sunscreen and talcum powder.

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