The central government has given basic customs duty relief on all drugs and special-purpose food imported for personal use in the treatment of rare diseases. This step is taken for all the items listed under the national policy for Rare Disease 2021, through exemption notification, the finance ministry said.
Individual importers must produce a certificate from the Central or State Director of Health Services, District Medical Officer, or Civil Surgeon of the district to qualify for this exemption. Medicines are generally subject to a 10% basic customs duty, with some categories of lifesaving drugs and vaccines subject to a 5% concession or no duty at all,
While exemptions have already been granted to specific drugs used to treat spinal muscular atrophy or Duchenne muscular dystrophy, the government has received numerous requests for customs duty relief for drugs used to treat other rare diseases, the ministry said.
“Drugs or special foods required for the treatment of these diseases are expensive and need to be imported. It is estimated that for a child weighing 10 kg, the annual cost of treatment for some rare diseases may vary from ₹10 lakhs to more than ₹1 crore per year with treatment being lifelong and drug dose and cost, increasing with age and weight. This exemption will result in substantial cost savings and provide much-needed relief to the patients,” said the statement.
Separately, according to an order from the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs, the government has extended the exemption from health cess allowed in the case of imported goods used in the manufacture of X-ray machines (CBIC).
CBIC also stated in a separate order that the basic customs duty on specific textile machinery parts and raw materials for the manufacture of goods to be supplied in connection with offshore oil exploration has been extended.
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