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NEW DELHI: Under flak for withdrawing customs duty exemption for 76 life saving drugs including for cancer, government today justified the decision, saying it was to protect domestic manufacturers and there will only be marginal increase in the prices of these imported drugs.
After its notification issued by Central Board of Excise and Customs last week withdrawing the customs duty exemption received severe flak from public and activists, the Health Ministry reviewed the impact of its decision and concluded that most of the drugs from domestic manufacturers are already available at cheaper rates.
“It is to promote indigenous medicines. The Indian drug companies are perfectly capable of manufacturing these drugs for our domestic market. We are not only meeting the domestic demand but are also exporting them to 200 countries and economies. Most of them are available at cheaper rates,” said a senior Health Ministry official, who is also overseeing the functioning of Drug Controller General of India.
Asserting that there will be marginal increase in the prices of these imported drugs, he said, “In case of 95 per cent of these drugs, the custom duty is only 2.5 per cent. So if there is an increase, it would be marginal as per our assessment after the review.”
The list of 76 medicines also contains pharmaceutical ingredients used in drugs.
They are used in treatment of diseases like kidney stones, heart rhythm disorders, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, bone diseases, bacterial infections, anaesthetic medication, allergies, arthritis, lupus, menopause, glaucoma, poisoning by a chemical or pesticide, growth failure in children and ulcerative colitis.