Centre urged to reduce excise duty on medicines

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Kochi, Feb 6 (UNI) The Federation of Medical and Sales Representatives Association of India (FMRAI) today urged the Centre to reduce excise duty levied on medicines and drugs.

Speaking to mediapersons here, FMRAI General Secretary D P Dubey said ''the Centre should take steps to exempt essential drugs from the excise duty bracket and reduce the duty to four per cent from the present 16 per cent for other drugs.'' The excise duty was levied on the cost of production but after 2005 it was charged on the Maximum Retail Price (MRP), which was detrimental to the industry.

''The high rate of excise duty and the practice of charging duty on the MRP has resulted in steep increase in the prices of medicines,'' he noted.

He said the association had raised issues relating to pricing, patent, unethical trading and marketing of medicines and drugs with authorities concerned in the last year.

Mr Dubey said around 400 delegates and leaders representing employees working in the pharmaceutical sector and 39 other industries will participate in the association's three-day General Council Meeting from tomorrow here.

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