Customs duty reduction may save more ailing hearts

Customs duty reduction may save more ailing hearts

Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee in his budget reduced basic customs duty on influenza vaccine and nine other specified life-saving drugs used for treating breast cancer, hepatitis-B, and rheumatic arthritis.

The exemption of excise duty on heart devices is also expected to make a major impact as most of the devices are imported.

MS Ramaiah Hospital Head of Department (Cardiology) Dr V S Prakash said that reducing customs duty of life-saving drugs and equipment is a welcome news for patients with heart ailments.

“More than 200 patients in Bangalore City alone have heart and other cardiac problems. A mere 50 per cent amongst them actually opting to take treatment,” he said, pointing to the cost of bypass and other forms of cardiac surgeries made higher by drugs and equipments. He said this could start to change with the exemption of excise duty.

However, Narayana Hrudayalaya cardiologist Dr Ravi Kishore feels the reduction is unlikely to create a big difference as it would help only a few patients with heart conditions.

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