Govt waives duty on Amphotericin B, raw materials for Covid testing kits

  • The duty waiver on raw materials for manufacturing Covid test kits is effective till September 30.
The duty waiver on various raw materials for Amphotericin B is available till August 31.(ANI)
The duty waiver on various raw materials for Amphotericin B is available till August 31.(ANI)
Published on Jul 14, 2021 12:10 AM IST
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ByRajeev Jayaswal, New Delhi

The government has waived off basic customs duty on imports of raw materials for manufacturing Covid test kits and anti-fungal drug Amphotericin B for a limited period as part of its strategy to make the domestic industry ready for the third wave, one government official said.

The duty waiver on various raw materials for Amphotericin B is available till August 31, the official said, requesting anonymity. According to a Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) notification, these active pharmaceutical ingredient (APIs) and pharmaceutical excipients include hydrogenated phosphatidylcholine from soybean, egg lecithin and cholesterol HP. Pharmaceutical excipients are inactive raw materials.

The duty waiver on raw materials for manufacturing Covid test kits is effective till September 30.

On June 12, the goods and services tax (GST) Council had temporarily removed GST on two medicines, including Amphotericin B, and slashed tax rates on 15 other items such as drugs, medical grade oxygen and testing kits to 5% for little over three-and-a-half months in order to provide relief to people fighting the second wave of Covid-19 pandemic.

While GST on Amphotericin B and Tocilizumab was slashed from 5% to zero, taxes on Remdesivir and anti-coagulants like Heparin had been reduced from 12% to 5%. A flat GST rate of 5% was kept for all such drugs that would be recommended by the ministry of health and family welfare (MoHFW) and the department of pharmaceuticals (DoP) for Covid treatment.

Mahesh Jaising, partner at consultancy firm Deloitte India said the government’s decision supports the ‘Make in India’ initiative, and is also aligned to “the larger rate reduction/exemptions that the government announced in the past” for Covid-related drugs and equipment.

“With the government preparing for a third wave, which experts suggest to be around the corner, it is not surprising to see that the government has proactively exempted the customs duty on raw materials for Covid testing kits,” he said.

Abhishek Jain, tax partner at EY, said the move is aimed at fight the Covid crisis and a step in the direction of making domestic industry self-reliant.

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Friday, July 01, 2022