AIDS Drugs Now Cheaper as India Scraps Import Duties Amidst Shortage


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This new exemption is the latest step towards solving the issue of shortage of AIDS drugs in government clinics. The step will cut prices of AIDS drugs and test kits across the country. Know more.

In an attempt to fight AIDS, India has scrapped customs import duties for drugs and test kits used to treat AIDS.

An Indian couple walk past a 50 foot (15.24 meter) long AIDS red ribbon sand sculpture, created by Sudarshan Pattnaik on World AIDS Day in Puri, India, Monday, Dec.1, 2008. (AP Photo/Biswaranjan Rout)

Photo: www.indiacsr.in

India has 2.1 million HIV/AIDS patients out of which one third get their daily medicines for free from the government distribution centres. With the shortage of stocks for months, patients have been facing a lot of troubles.

The new step is expected to bring the prices down and help patients in need of the crucial medicines. At present, U.S. firm Mylan Inc and India’s Aurobindo Pharma supply AIDS drugs to the government program.

Certain first-line and second-line drugs used to treat children and adults along with certain diagnostic kits and equipments that are used by NACO will be a part of this exemption.

These drugs make about 95 percent of antiretrovirals used by India’s AIDS patients under the national program. The AIDS control program has been lately facing some issues with delay in construction of clinics in rural areas and quitting of many rural health workers. The exemption will aim at filling the gap and will remain in effect till March 2016.

Though some Indian companies have been the world’s largest suppliers of AIDS drugs, the shortage is a cause of concern and this exemption is the government’s latest step to solve the issue.

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