400 drugs excluded from general sales tax list
ISLAMABAD (April 02 2002) : The Ministry of Health has finalised the list of 400 life-saving drugs to be excluded from the imposition of GST, on the directives of President Pervez Musharraf.

Sources told Business Recorder that a meeting was held here with Director-General of Health here on Monday to finalise the list of life-saving drugs in which representatives from ministries of Finance, Industries and Production, CBR, pharmaceutical manufacturers, government hospitals, and medicine experts participated.

After consultation with experts, the Health Ministry decided to mark 400 medicines as life-saving drugs and asked the CBR to withdraw GST from them. All these 400 medicines are known as "running items" which have 60 percent share in the pharmaceutical market. The remaining medicines are known as "dead items". The medicine experts approved all antibiotic medicines as life-saving drugs. However, multivitamin medicines and injections have not been included in the life-saving drugs list, sources added.

According to sources, CBR representative in the meeting said that the new list of 400 life-saving drugs would compel the CBR to revise its decision of GST on medicines, because the estimated revenue target in this respect would not be achieved due to exemption of 400 'running items' in the GST list. The CBR is bound to exempt all these approved items due to the directive of the President who empowered the Ministry of Health to decide the number of life-saving drugs.

Earlier, the list of life saving drugs included only 75 medicines, but after imposition of GST, the Ministry of Health has increased the items for maximum benefit to the poor people, sources said.

The CBR would issue SRO regarding 400 medicines with their names for exemption from GST within the next few days.

Copyright 2002 Business Recorder (http://www.brecorder.com)