HIGHLIGHTS:

  • GST on Tocilizumab and black fungus drug Amphotericin B has been slashed to nil from 5 percent earlier.
  • The GST Council decided to retain 5 percent GST on Covid vaccines.
  • Tax on medical grade oxygen, oxygen concentrators, ventilators, BiPAP machines, and high flow nasal cannula (HFNC) devices has been cut to 5 percent from 12 percent.
  • GST on electric furnaces and temperature checking equipment brought down to 5 percent and on ambulances to 12 percent.
  • Pulse oximeters, hand sanitisers, and temperature check equipment too will attract a lower 5 percent tax.

Today, the GST Council cleared the GoM’s (Group of Ministers) recommendation on tax slab on vaccines and other COVID-19 essential items. The GoM is the constitutional body that decides rates for the GST. The meeting chaired by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman slashed taxes on hospital equipment, medicines, and other items.

Addressing the media, the panel has decided to charge no GST on medicines like Tocilizumab and Amphotericin B, used for treating Black Fungus. Other medicines for which GST has been reduced include anti-coagulants like Heparin (from 12 percent to 5 percent), Remdesivir (from 12 percent to 5 percent), and any drug recommended by the Health Ministry for Covid treatment (from the applicable current rate to 5 percent).

The 5 percent GST charged on COVID vaccines will continue. The 75 percent of vaccines purchased by the Centre as promised will include the GST. However, 70 percent of income from GST will be shared with States.

There has been a dip in the GST rate, from 12 percent to 5 percent in certain COVID-19 related equipments. These equipments include medical grade oxygen, oxygen concentrator and generator including personal import, ventilator, ventilator masks, Bipap machine, and high-flow nasal cannula device.

GST on ambulances has been cut to 12 percent from 28 percent, and on electric furnaces and temperature-checking equipment to 5 percent. Pulse oximeters, hand sanitisers, temperature check equipment, and ambulances too will attract a lower 5 percent tax.

All Covid testing kits will be charged at 5 percent GST, from the earlier 12 percent. Specified inflammatory diagnostic kits like D-Dimer, IL-6, Ferritin, and LDH will also be charged at 5 percent. However, there has been no consideration on raw material used for Covid testing kits.

There is no change in the GST rate of some items being charged at 18 percent, such as RT-PCR machines, RNA extraction machines, and genome sequencing machines. Genome sequencing kits that are being charged at 12 percent will continue to be charged at the same rate. The tax cuts are valid till September 30 and may be extended nearer the deadline.

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