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Stalin writes letter to Union finance minister to exempt IGST/Customs duty on Muscular atrophy drugs

Chennai, July 13(BPNS)

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, M.K. Stalin has in a letter requested the Union finance minister, Nirmala Sitharaman to exempt customs duty, integrated GST or any other taxes on the import of life-saving drugs for the treatment of spinal muscular atrophy.

Stalin in his letter written on Tuesday, a copy of which is available to media, pointed out that the state of Tamil Nadu itself has around 90 to 100 cases of Spinal Muscular Atrophy on an annual basis. He said that the gene therapy for this genetic disorder costs over Rs 16 crore per person and added that the duties on this drug increase its cost much more.

He said that the parents of the children who are affected by this disease were not in a position to bear the costs of this drug as a single dose treatment (Zolgensma), or multiple doses treatment (Spinraza) gene- therapy treatment is too expensive. He also said that the Risdiplam oral syrup is also highly expensive.

The Tamil Nadu Chief Minister said that the Union government had recently waived tax for import of this medicine for a child who was suffering from Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) and called upon the Union Finance minister to consider the matter with urgency.