Central government abolishes basic customs duty on treatment of rare diseases
Tags: National News
The central government on March 30 exempted basic customs duty on all drugs and food for special medical purposes imported for personal use for treatment of rare diseases.
An overview of the news
The import duty exemption will be applicable from April 1, 2023.
The exempted drugs and food items are listed under the National Rare Disease Policy 2021.
To avail this exemption, the individual importer has to submit a certificate from the Central or State Director Health Services or Civil Surgeon of the district.
The government has fully exempted pembrolizumab (Keytruda), used in the treatment of various cancers, from basic customs duty.
Medicines generally attract a basic customs duty of 10 per cent, while certain categories of life saving drugs/vaccines attract a concessional rate of 5 per cent or nil.
What are Rare Diseases?
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines a rare disease as one with a frequency of less than 6.5–10 per 10,000 people.
According to one estimate, there are 7,000 known rare diseases with an estimated 300 million patients in the world.
About 95% of these patients have no approved treatment and less than 1 in 10 patients receive disease-specific treatment.
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