Prices of these drugs would, however, be fixed by the manufacturers/ importers after negotiations with the government. This will ensure that the consumer benefits fully from the tax waiver.
According to sources, the chemicals and fertilisers ministry has included these proposals in the new pharmaceutical policy being drafted. It has already estimated the financial cost of the tax breaks, which includes excise and customs/countervailing duty waivers, in consultation with the finance ministry.
At present, all cancer and Aids drugs are outside the price control mechanism. This is because no cancer or Aids drug (anti-retroviral) sold in the country individually meets the twin criteria for price control based on mass consumption and incidence of competition. Nevertheless, the prices of most of the cancer drugs are too high.
At present, all cancer and Aids drugs are outside the price control mechanism
A new health insurance scheme that focuses on ensuring availability of medicines to the 26 crore below poverty line families would also be part of the new policy. As per the plan, the Centre would bear 90% of the premium cost, said the sources.
The government is expected to discuss the contours of the proposed policy with all the PSU insurance companies on November 24.
As FE had reported earlier, the chemicals and fertiliser ministry would propose to the finance ministry a 1% cess on all central taxes and levies to enhance fund available for the healthcare sector. The 1% cess is estimated to generate about Rs 3,200 crore.