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Health goods

Last updated 17 August 2023

Check the conditions for GST-free treatment of health goods.

Conditions to be GST-free

From 1 January 2019, sales of the following goods are GST-free:

  • maternity pads
  • menstrual cups
  • menstrual pads and liners
  • menstrual underwear
  • tampons
  • other similar products specifically designed to absorb or collect lochia, menses or vaginal discharge.

Sales of the following goods are GST-free if they are either required to be included in the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods, or are goods in a class of goods required to be included in the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods:

  • condoms
  • barrier dams, femidoms and harness devices
  • personal and surgical lubricants that are water-soluble and are suitable for use with condoms
  • preparations for use by humans that contain folic acid as a single active ingredient and have a recommended daily dose of 400 to 500 micrograms
  • sunscreen preparations for dermal application that are marketed principally for use as sunscreen and have a sun protection factor rating of 15 or more
  • nicotine for use as an aid in withdrawal from tobacco smoking where the nicotine is administered in preparations for transdermal or mucosal use.


Treating health goods as taxable

Under GST law, a purchaser can make an agreement with their supplier to treat GST-free health goods as taxable. This may happen where a manufacturer supplies a range of GST-free and taxable goods to a retailer, and they don't want to identify the GST status of every product.

Where a purchaser makes such an agreement, if they are registered or required to be registered for GST, they may be eligible to claim a GST credit for the GST paid.

The purchaser may still sell these items GST-free to their customers.

Supply of analgesic products

The sale of analgesic products may be subject to GST or GST-free, depending on the ingredients used, quantity of tablets and the restrictions when selling them.

Restricted analgesic products supplied by doctors, dentists or pharmacists that are labelled as ‘Pharmacy Medicine’ or ‘Pharmacy Only Medicine’ are GST-free. These products are restricted due to the ingredients or the quantity of tablets in the packet.

Unrestricted analgesic products, which will be in small packets, sold by pharmacies and other retailers such as supermarkets and convenience stores will only be GST-free if they:

  • contain one active ingredient (it must be aspirin, paracetamol or ibuprofen)
  • are intended to be taken by mouth.

GST applies to unrestricted analgesic products with more than one active ingredient.

Example: analgesic products

Ted's Pharmacy launches a new 20 tablet analgesic product that contains 2 active ingredients: caffeine and paracetamol.

The 20 tablet analgesic product is not labelled as a ‘Pharmacy Medicine’ or ‘Pharmacy Only Medicine’. The new analgesic product is taxable and is subject to GST. This is because it’s not a restricted product and has 2 active ingredients.

End of example