India Exempt Customs Duty on Imported Drugs for Rare Diseases


India has announced that all imported drugs and “Food for Special Medical Purposes” for personal use to treat all rare diseases listed in the National Policy for Rare Diseases 2021 will be exempt from basic customs duties.

Pembrolizumab (Keytruda), which is used to treat a variety of cancers, has also been completely exempt from basic customs duty by the government.

An individual importer must present a certificate from the district’s Civil Surgeon, District Medical Officer, or Central or State Director of Health Services in order to be eligible for the exemption.

Most medicines have a basic customs duty of 10%, but some life-saving drugs or vaccines have a concessional rate of 5% or are completely free of duties.

The Center has received numerous requests for customs duty relief for drugs and medicines used to treat other rare diseases, despite the fact that certain medications have already been granted exemptions for the treatment of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy or Spinal Muscular Atrophy.

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Drugs and special foods needed to treat these diseases are expensive and must be imported. The yearly expense of treating a few interesting sicknesses for a 10kg youngster might go from Rs 10 lakh to over Rs 1 crore each year, as per a Press Data Department public statement. The government stated that patients with rare diseases will receive much-needed relief and significant savings as a result of this customs duty exemption.