Policy

Industry welcomes GST Council move on Covid drugs

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on September 18, 2021

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Urged companies to reduce the MRP on all the drugs for which GST rates have been slashed

The GST Council on Friday decided to extend existing concessional GST rates on Covid-19 treatment drugs till December 31, 2021. These medicines include Amphotericin B (nil), Remdesivir (5 per cent), Tocilizumab (nil), Anti-coagulants like Heparin (5 per cent). In addition, the GST rate on seven more drugs useful for Covid-19 patients has been slashed till December 31 to 5 per cent from 12 per cent including Itolizumab, Posaconazole and Favipiravir. Further, the GST rate on Keytruda medicine for treatment of cancer has also been cut to 5 per cent from 12 per cent. Meanwhile, life-saving drugs Zolgensma and Viltepso used in the treatment of spinal muscular atrophy, particularly for children, have also been exempted from GST when imported for personal use. As per the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharman ,these medicines cost about ₹16 crore.

Reacting on the decisions taken by the GST Council, Dr. Amidayala Lingaiah, Medical Director, Yashoda Hospitals Hyderabad said, “the first two waves of the pandemic have claimed lives at hitherto unprecedented rates and led to a sharp rise in healthcare spending in the country. Many households have spent heavily on essential Covid drugs which has severely impacted household finance.The GST Council headed by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has taken the phenomenal decision of extending concessional rates and lower taxes on Covid-related medicines till December 31 this year.”

“This extension is welcomed by the citizens since the list includes a few drugs that have shown significant results in treating patients. Naming a few; Zolgensma, Viltepso, Favipiravir and Itolizumab. Exemptions have been given for Amphotericin B - nil rate, Tocilizumab - nil rate, Remdesivir - 5 per cent, anticoagulants like Heparin - 5 per cent. This will enable a common man to reduce their expenses and could afford these lifesaving drugs for effective Covid treatment,” Lingaiah further added.

Meanwhile, an official of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) said, “it is a welcome move for patients. Companies have to reduce the maximum retail price (MRP) on all the drugs for which GST rates have been revised downward.

“This will be additional work. The GST on certain items like printing material, catalogues, cards has been upwardly revised. This makes promotional material more costlier. There are certain other procedural changes which will be known once the notification is released, may be tonight or on Monday,” CII official said.

Published on September 18, 2021

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