18 March 2012
The proposed extension to concessional basic customs duty of 5% with full exemption from excise duty and countervailing duty (CVD) for six specified life–saving drugs will benefit patients suffering from HIV/ AIDS, cancer and kidney ailments, medical experts said.
“Life–saving drugs meant for cancer patients are expensive. Exempting them from excise duty is a relief as medicines will be within the people’s reach,” oncosurgeon Anupama Mane of Ruby Hall Cancer Centre said.
Many patients are from lower income groups. “Since many of these drugs are imported, they are expensive. Exempting them from excise duty will make them affordable,” Mane said.
The exemption to life–saving drugs required to treat kidney ailments and used during kidney transplants will make treatment affordable for patients.
“Drugs known as immuno–suppressents are used during kidney transplants. These drugs are very expensive and push up treatment costs. Exempting them from excise duty is a relief. But we don’t know which specific drugs have been exempted,” said nephrologist Farrokh Wadia of KEM Hospital.