Delhi High Court asks Centre why high import duty imposed on drugs essential to treat Mucormycosis

The Delhi High Court order came on a plea filed by advocate Iqra Khalid after his grandfather had required the drug for the treatment of black fungus.

The Delhi High Court on Thursday asked the Centre why high import duty had been imposed on Amphotericin B, which is essential to treat black fungus patients, mainly those who are getting affected by it after recovering from Covid-19.

The high court said that the drug was required to save the lives of people suffering from Mucormycosis, which is afflicting thousands across the country. It asked the central government to consider waiver of customs duty till the time the medicine is in short supply in India.

“We are of the opinion that the center should seriously consider waiver of customs duty/import duty for the period while the drug is in short supply in India,” the Delhi High Court observed.

“We direct that if any import is made by any person of this drug (Amphotericin B), it shall be allowed on a bond furnished by the importer without the actual duty being paid, till a decision is taken by the Centre.

“The bond shall have the undertaking that in case the import duty is not waived, the duty shall be paid by the importer,” a bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Jasmeet Singh said as quoted by PTI.

The central government counsel Kirtiman Singh stated that this order would be communicated to the CBDT and the Secretary of Finance, and a decision would be taken in the next couple of days.

The Delhi High Court order came on a plea filed by advocate Iqra Khalid after his grandfather had required the drug for the treatment of black fungus. The High Court was considering the shortage of the drug across the country and a possible way for its availability to treat Mucormycosis patients.

During the hearing on Thursday, the court also took cognizance of the submission of Advocate Nidhi Mohan Parashar that Customs would pass all the consignments of the drug without any further delay.

The black fungus disease is caused by mucor fungus. It has been on the rise among recovered Covid-19 patients, mainly those who take steroids and suffer from diabetes.

On Wednesday, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had said that there were more than 600 cases of black fungus in the city, but due to the shortage of Amphotericin-B, their treatment was facing obstructions.

Source: India Today

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