Chennai City News

Stalin seeks duty exemption for import of life saving drugs for treating SMA

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin today urged Union Finance Minister Ms Nirmala Sitharaman to exempt Customs Duty, Integrated GST, any other such taxes on import of life saving drugs for treatment of Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), as a policy.

Chennai : In a Demi-Official letter to Ms Nirmala, copies of which were released to the media here, he said SMA is a rare disease, causing loss of nerve cells, which carry electrical signals from the brain to muscles. For the children affected by it, gene-therapy has to be ideally given before the child reaches two years of age, he said. Stating that the gene-therapy for this genetic disorder costs over Rs.16 crores per person, Mr Stalin said drugs for this gene-therapy were being imported by the hospitals for treatment.
In Tamil Nadu, annually 90-100 such cases are being reported, he said, adding, a single dose treatment (Zolgensma) or multiple dose treatment (Spinraza) gene-therapy treatment or Risdiplam oral syrup are expensive and the parents of the children, who are affected by the rare disorder, find it difficult to meet the cost of the treatment. As these drugs are imported, the Customs Duty and Integrated GST levied
on them, further increase the cost of gene-therapy, he added
Pointing out that the Union Government had recently waived tax for import of this medicine for a child suffering from SMA, Mr Stalin urged MsNirmala Sitharaman to give necessary instructions to the Ministry of Finance to take necessary steps to exempt Customs Duty, Integrated GST, any other such taxes on import of life saving drugs for treatment of SMA, as a policy.

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