India to exempt some AIDS, TB drugs, and diagnostics from import taxes

Import taxes for drugs used to treat HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and related diagnostic kits will be scrapped by India in the coming year. The move is part of the government's recently announced plan to meet demand for treatments through both public and private efforts--while keeping costs in check.

The Economic Times newspaper said exemptions effective at the end of the current fiscal year, March 31, 2016, would cover products slated for the National AIDS Control Programme funded by the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria.

In focus are antiretroviral drugs--Adult First Line, Adult Second Line and Pediatric Drugs, The Economic Times said.

In April, reports surfaced that India would expand its list of drugs subject to price caps to include HIV and tuberculosis treatments as both need and cost pressures build.

India currently provides a set of HIV and TB treatments for free via state clinics and distribution centers, but many patients use private clinics and hospitals for other combinations of drugs and treatment regimes.

As well, India plans to waive import taxes on diagnostic kits, reagents and others, The Economic Times said.

Among the drugs included are zidovudine, lamivudine and nevirapine as well as atazanavir, ritonavir and lopinavir, the Economic Times said.

- here's the story from The Economic Times