Govt waives off import duty on Remdesivir and its raw materials amid Covid-19 surge
The central government on Tuesday waived off import duty on antiviral drug Remdesivir and its raw materials for over six months to encourage domestic pharmaceutical companies to ramp up its production and reduce its cost amidst the rising demand for the treatment of Covid-19 patients.
“The Central government, on being satisfied that it is necessary in the public interest to do, hereby exempts the goods [Remdesivir and its raw materials]... when imported into India, from the whole of the duty of customs leviable,” said a finance ministry order issued late night on Tuesday.
According to the order, Remdesivir active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), beta Cyclodextrin (SBEBCD) used in the manufacture of Remdesivir and injection Remdesivir have been exempted from import duty up to October 31, 2021.
“In line with PM @NarendraModi's priority to ensure affordable medical care for COVID-19 patients, imports of Remdesivir API, injection and specific inputs have been made import duty free. This should increase supply and reduce cost thus providing relief to patients,” commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal said in a tweet.
As the country battles the second wave of Covid-19 cases, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday evening addressed the nation and urged citizens to stay home. He directed states to resort to a lockdown only as the last option.
"I urge states to use lockdown only as a last resort," PM Modi said, adding that they should try their best to avoid lockdown.
For the sixth straight day, India reported over 200,000 new Covid-19 cases on Tuesday. The infection tally currently stands at 15,321,089 including more than 13 million recoveries, more than two million active cases and 180,530 deaths.