No tax on black fungus drug, 5% GST on vaccines to continue

Group of ministers recommend cuts in view of the pandemic’s crippling effects on citizens’ finances

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman chaired the GST council meeting on Saturday | File Photo: ANI/Twitter

The Goods and Services Tax Council reduced taxes on certain COVID-related medicines, hospital equipment and other items on Saturday.

A group of ministers recommended the cuts in view of the pandemic’s effects on citizens’ finances, the constitutional body that decides GST rates said.

No tax will be charged for medicines such as Tocilizumab and Amphotericin B, used for treating black fungus, a fungal disease that affects people infected with COVID.

The tax cuts are valid till September 30, and may be extended nearer the deadline.

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COVID vaccines continue to be charged a GST of 5 per cent.

Also read: ‘Tax policies in democracy should be reflective of people’s aspirations’

There is no change in the GST rate of some items being charged at 18 per cent, such as RT-PCR machines, RNA extraction machines and genome sequencing machines. Genome sequencing kits that are being charged at 12 per cent will continued to be charged at the same rate.

There is also no tax cut on raw material for COVID testing kits.

Other medicines for which GST has been reduced include anti-coagulants like Heparin (from 12 per cent to 5 per cent), Remdesivir (12 per cent to 5 per cent) and any drug recommended by the health ministry for COVID treatment (from applicable current rate to 5 per cent).

GST has been slashed from 12 per cent to 5 per cent on medical grade oxygen, oxygen concentrator and generator, including personal import, ventilator, ventilator masks, Bipap machine and high-flow nasal canula device.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman chaired the GST council meeting on Saturday. The attendees discussed the report of the group of ministers, headed by Meghalaya Deputy Chief Minister Conrad Sangma.

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