Amid surging COVID-19 cases in the country, the government on Tuesday waived customs duty on Remdesivir, its raw materials and other components used to make the antiviral drug.
Taking to Twitter, the ministry of finance on Tuesday shared a notification that said that the central government has exempted Remdesivir Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients, Beta Cyclodextrin (SBEBCD) used in the manufacture of Remdesivir -- subject to the condition that the importer follows the procedure set out in the Customs (Import of Goods at Concessional Rate of Duty) Rules, 2017 -- and Injection Remdesivir from the whole of the duty of customs leviable on their import into India.
In a notification, the Department of Revenue said "the central government, on being satisfied that it is necessary in the public interest to do, hereby exempts the goods...when imported into India, from the whole of the duty of customs leviable".
The items on which the duty has been waived include Remdesivir active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), injection Remdesivir, and beta Cyclodextrin used in manufacture of Remdesivir. This import duty exemption would remain in force till October 31 this year.
The move would help augment domestic availability and reduce cost of the injection. Remdesivir is being used in the treatment of coronavirus.
Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal tweeted, "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."
Amid the shortage of Remdesivir in the wake of a spike in COVID-19 infections in the country, seven major pharmaceutical companies have already reduced the maximum retail price (MRP) of the anti-viral drug.
As per the revised price of major brands of Remdesivir injection 100mg/Vial', Cadila Healthcare Ltd's REMDAC which was earlier available at Rs 2,800, has been reduced to Rs 899.
The price of Syngene International Ltd's RemWin is reduced to Rs 2,450 from Rs 3,950. Dr Reddy's Laboratories Ltd's REDYX will be available at Rs 2,700 instead of Rs 5,400.
Cipla Ltd's CIPREMI will now be available at Rs 3,000 instead of Rs 4,000, Maylan Pharmaceuticals Pvt Ltd's DESREM will be available at Rs 3400 instead of Rs 4,800, Jubilant Generics Ltd's JUBI-R will be available at Rs 3,400 instead of Rs 4,700 and Hetero Healthcare Ltd's COVIFOR will be available at Rs 3,490 instead of Rs 5,400.