Suffering from cancer or kidney stones? Your medicines to cost more soon

New Delhi :Levying of any kind of duty on life saving drugs does not resonate well with India’s affordable healthcare mission, Biotechnology major Biocon’s Chairman and Managing Director Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw said today.

“We should, as a country, exempt life saving drugs from any kind of levies. Because after all you want affordable access and that is what you are basically touting as your healthcare mission then you know levying any kind of duty on life saving drug does not resonate well,” Mazumdar-Shaw told NDTV.

Recently, the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) had issued a notification withdrawing exemption of levy of basic customs duty on as many as 74 drugs.

The medicines on which customs duty will now be imposed include the ones used for treating kidney stones, cancer chemotherapy and radiotherapy, life-threatening heart rhythm disorders, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, bone diseases and antibiotics to treat infections.

Besides, drugs used for bacterial infections, leukemia, anesthetic medication, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or hepatitis B virus cells, allergies, arthritis, lupus and ulcerative colitis might also see spurt in prices.

Apart from that, drugs used in blood dilating medicine or for treating menopause, glaucoma, anogenital warts, poisoning by a chemical or pesticide, growth failure in children and adults who lack natural growth hormone would also attract customs duty.

However, experts believe the move seems to be in line with the government’s objective to rationalise the duty exemptions.