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. The move would help augment domestic availability and reduce cost of the injection. Remdesivir is being used in the treatment of coronavirus.
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.
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."
Earlier on April 11, in view of increased demand for Remdesivir, the Centre banned export of the injection and its APIs till the situation improves. The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) had last week said various drug companies had cut the prices of Remdesivir injection on the intervention of the government.
Cadila Healthcare has reduced the price of its REMDAC (Remdesivir 100 mg) injection to Rs 899 from Rs 2,800. Similarly, Syngene International has cut the price of its brand RemWin to Rs 2,450 from Rs 3,950. Hyderabad-based Dr Reddy's Laboratories has cut the price of REDYX, which used to cost Rs 5,400, to Rs 2,700 now. Similarly, Cipla has reduced the price of its CIPREMI brand to Rs 3,000 from Rs 4,000.
Mylan has also reduced the price of its brand from Rs 4,800 to Rs 3,400. Similarly, Jubilant Generics has cut the price of its Remdesivir brand to Rs 3,400 from Rs 4,700 earlier.