The GST Council, which is scheduled to meet next Tuesday, is likely to exempt tax on the cancer medicine Dinutuximab, which is imported by individuals. Import of cancer medicine Dinutuximab (Qarziba) by individuals for personal use attracts 12 per cent IGST at present.
The Fitment Committee has recommended that the medicine, which costs Rs 36 lakh, should be exempted from GST as patients and families usually raise money through crowdfunding to buy it.
Besides, the import of medicines and Food for Special Medical Purposes (FSMP) used in the treatment of rare diseases for personal use and also by centres of excellence are likely to be exempted from Integrated GST. Currently, such imports attract an IGST of 5 per cent or 12 per cent.
Last year, a parliamentary panel on Monday had asked top government officials to consider waiving GST on cancer drugs and take stringent measures to check the prices of medicines and radiation therapy
The panel had suggested that cancer should be a “notifiable disease" so that its "actual burden" on the country can be ascertained and steps taken to provide help to patients.
A notifiable disease is required by law to be reported to the government authorities. The collection of information allows the authorities to monitor the disease.
Pointing that cancer treatment is “very expensive” in the country, members of the panel told the health ministry officials that there is a dire need to check the overall pricing of cancer treatment.
The panel, which had representatives from different parties, said the government should take some stringent measures to check the prices of medicines and radiation therapy used for cancer treatment.
The government in reply told the parliamentary panel that the drugs regulator National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority has so far fixed the ceiling prices of 86 formulations, rationalised trade margins of 49 drugs, and reduced the MRP (maximum retail price) of medicines used for cancer treatment up to 90 per cent.
Other issues before GST Council meet
The GST Council will likely discuss the second report of a Group of Ministers (GoM) on online gaming, horse racing and casinos.
The panel has failed to reach a consensus on the taxation rate, with Goa having suggested an 18 per cent rate for online gaming, while the other seven member states recommended a 28 per cent rate for all three categories.
The panel is likely to decide on the applicability of GST on food or beverages served in multiplexes.
The Council is also expected to clarify the definition of Multi Utility Vehicles (MUV) or multipurpose vehicles or crossover utility vehicles (XUVs), bringing them at par with the Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) for levy of a 22 per cent compensation cess over and above the 28 per cent GST rate.
The Fitment Committee has recommended that all utility vehicles, by whatever name called, would attract 22 per cent cess provided they meet three parameters -- length greater than 4-metre, engine capacity greater than 1,500 cc, and ground clearance in 'un-laden condition' of more than 170 mm.
As regards satellite launch services, public sector enterprises like ISRO, Antrix Corporation Ltd (ACL) and New Space India Ltd (NSIL) get tax exemption under GST. However, private players are required to pay an 18 per cent tax.
The fitment committee suggested that exemption should be extended to the private players.
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