Govt exempts AIDS drugs from customs duty

Govt exempts AIDS drugs from customs duty

Government today exempted a host of drugs, diagnostics and medical equipments used in treatment of AIDS from customs duty to make them cheaper.

The exemption will be in effect till March 31, 2016, said a notification issued by the Central Board of Excise and Customs. Additional duty on such imports has also been waived.

The exemption will benefit Anti-Retroviral Drugs (ARV Drugs) -- Adult First Line, Adult Second Line and Paediatric Drugs.

The diagnostics and equipment on which the duties have been waived comprise 'Cluster of Differentiation (CD) 4 Kits/ Reagents, HIV-DNA-PCR Kits for DNA Testing of Early Infant Diagnostics, Viral Load Kits, CD4 Machines, Viral Load Machines'.

The notification further said the importer will have to produce a certificate that the goods are required for the National AIDS Control Programme funded by Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria (GFATM).

Adult First Line drugs that have been exempted from the duty, include Zidovudine 300 mg + Lamivudine 150 mg + Nevirapine 200 mg.

In Adult Second Line segment Atazanavir 300 mg Capsules, Ritonavir 100 mg tablets, and Lopinavir 200 mg + Ritonavir 50 mg tablets have been exempted.

Among others, Zidovudine 60 mg + Lamivudine 30 mg + Nevirapine 50 mg tablets has been exempted in the Paediatric Drugs category from customs and additional duties.
Since 2013, World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends the ARV use for the prevention of HIV infection, particularly for pregnant women, young children, and key populations exposed to HIV risk.

As per the WHO, standard antiretroviral therapy (ART) consists of the combination of at least three antiretroviral (ARV) drugs to maximally suppress the HIV virus and stop the progression of HIV disease

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