The finance minister's decision to reduce customs duty to five per cent for specified life saving bulk drugs and formulations will make life saving drugs more affordable for those suffering from cancer, cardiac ailments, neurological disorders HIV and other life threatening ailments which cut across income segments. In addition, customs duty on medical equipment, parts of artificial limbs and specified rehabilitation aids will also come down to 5 per cent along with countervailing duty (CVD) by way of excise duty. Excise duty on medical, surgical, dental and veterinary furniture is being reduced from 16 per cent to 8 per cent, while, mosquito nets treated with pesticide have been exempted from excise duty.
Reacting to the cuts, Habil Khorakiwala, Chairman, Wockhardt Ltd, The last time we had such a reduction, it was reflected in the pharmaceutical prices. Overall, it is a welcome move."
According to Dilip Shanghvi, Chairman and Managing Director, Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.
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brings good tidings
" With the custom duty cut on bulk actives, intermediates and removal of additional customs duty we are closer to global tariff rates which will help India become globally competitive. Since the Government is sacrificing revenue, we need to ensure this excise duty cut benefits the consumer in the form of lower price."
However, echoing a mildly discordant note, D.G. Shah, Secretary General, Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance (IPA) has called for parity between the domestic companies, which manufacture such drugs and those that rely on imports. "The Government must specify that if CVD has been removed for imports then the local manufacturers should also be exempted from excise duty. Otherwise the domestic manufacturers would be at a disadvantage."
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