Public health product tax in Hungary: An example of successful intersectoral action using a fiscal tool to promote healthier food choices and raise revenues for public health
Non-communicable diseases have been highlighted as the main cause of mortality and morbidity in Hungary, with substantial rates of ischaemic heart diseases, cancers and strokes. Parallel to that, approximately two-third of the country’s population is either overweight or obese. Consequently, the Government has taken major steps to improve population’s nutrition and introduced the public health product tax in 2011. This tax, designed to promote healthy food choices and simultaneously mobilise funding for public health services, had a significant impact. While successfully reducing the consumption of unhealthy food products, it also generated a substantial amount of revenues for public health spending. This document outlines Hungary’s successful implementation of the public health product and key lessons learnt throughout the process.