NHRC issues notice over imposition of excise duty on life saving drugs

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New Delhi, March 1 (ANI): The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Tuesday took suo motu cognizance of a media report about the Central Government’s move to remove a custom duty waiver and impose excise duty on certain life saving drugs making them costlier for the patients.

The panel observed that at a time when the healthcare system in the country as a whole was plagued with various ills, any action that pushes up the cost of medicines was bound to adversely affect people’s right to healthcare.

Accordingly, it issued notices to the Secretaries, Union Ministries of Finance and Health & Family Welfare and called for reports within four weeks.

According to the media report, carried on February 8, the medicines on which excise duty will now be imposed include the ones used for treating kidney stones, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, life-threatening heart rhythm disorders, Parkinson’s disease, bone disease, antibiotic to treat infections, leukemia, allergies, arthritis and lupus.

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In total the government withdrew the concession on custom duty of 76 key drugs claiming that it was necessary in public interest. 47 of these medicines are part of National List of Essential Medicines. (ANI)

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