• VAT on facemasks and face shields reduced to 5%
  •  Launch of Covid-19 Masks Subsidy Scheme for pharmacies as compensation for the difference between price cap and purchase price of items

The VAT charged on face masks and face shields will go down from 18% to 5%.

This was announced by Minister for the Economy, Investment and Small Businesses Silvio Schembri, following the announcement earlier this week with regards to the price capping for face masks, which are now being sold to a maximum price cap of 95c, and face shields at €5. The decrease in VAT charge came into effect as from today through a published legal notice.

Minister Schembri explained that, in view of these measures, pharmacies will also be compensated for the difference between the price cap announced and the price at which the items were originally purchased.


For this, the Covid-19 Masks Subsidy Scheme has been launched, aimed at aiding pharmacies in alleviating wholesale cost-induced losses borne by the introduction of the capping, while also safeguarding the wider public's interests.


The scheme can be accessed online via the portal 
and will be administered by Mimcol, which falls under the auspices of the Ministry for the Economy, Investment and Small Businesses.

“The decisions taken over the past days are the result of discussions held with all the relevant stakeholders in the industry. As a government, we sought to safeguard the interests of the consumers as well as the pharmacists, who shall now be benefitting from a compensation reflecting the difference of price in their purchased goods. I thank everyone involved for seeking to pull the same rope in the best interest of our people and nation. I also wholeheartedly thank all pharmacists for their valuable work and their cooperation in assisting the public throughout the Covid-19 pandemic," said Minister Schembri.

All eligible parties for the Covid-19 Masks Subsidy Scheme will be granted a refund for disposable surgical mask stocks bought over the period from 17th April to not later than 4th May 2020. The refund is reflective of the difference between the purchased wholesale price (inclusive of VAT) and the €0.95 capping, not exceeding €0.70 per mask. As such, applicants need to provide the administering entity with invoice references, including stock quantity levels and respective purchase prices over that same period.

For verification purposes, applicants may be subjected to an independent on and off-site inspection to verify that the claims are true and fair irrespective of the certification of the applicant's accountant. For further information one may send an e-mail on [email protected].


Minister Schembri thanked Prime Minister Robert Abela, Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne, Minister for Finance and Financial Services Edward Scicluna and Parliamentary Secretary for Consumer Protection and Public Cleansing Deo Debattista for their support throughout.