With the taxing of active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) at 18 per cent in the GST regime raising concerns about rise in medicine prices, Health Secretary C K Mishra on Thursday said the ministry is still figuring out the overall impact of the GST regime on the health sector.
“We are still trying to figure out the impact of the increased GST rates on active pharmaceutical ingredients,” Mishra said during Health Minister J P Nadda’s press conference on the achievements in the health sector during the three years of the NDA government.
API is the part of a drug molecule that is responsible for its therapeutic action. It becomes a drug in conjunction with substances that make this ingredient biologically active or help its transit within the body. APIs were earlier taxed at 12 per cent.
Mishra also said the government was yet to take a call on the National Health Protection Scheme, which was announced by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his 2016-17 budget speech. The National Health Protection Scheme, modelled on the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana, a highly successful health scheme for BPL workers formerly run by the Labour Ministry, envisages health cover of up to Rs 1 lakh for 8 crore families with provision of an additional Rs 30,000 for senior citizens.