Australia: Imports of Placebos and Clinical Trial Kits Now Duty Free

As of July 1, 2018, imports into Australia of clinical trial kits containing placebos or a combination of medicines and placebos are duty-free.

A recent update to the Australian Customs Tariff introduced new “Free” rate of duty provisions for clinical trial kits and placebos under Schedule 4, item 56. The kits and placebos covered under the new duty-free clauses include:

  • Clinical kits containing investigational medicines or placebo or a combination of both, as described in the tariff provision
  • Placebos imported for use in a clinical trial

Most medicines and medical devices imported into Australia already benefit from reduced or free rates of duty. However, because of the way placebos are classified under the Customs tariff, they have generally been subject import duties. The new tariff provision ensures that clinical supply of placebos receives the same preferential tariff rates as medicines and devices.


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