Companies seek nod to import drugs directly for staff

NEW DELHI: Companies have approached the government, seeking easing of rules, enabling them to import Covid-related medicines for free distribution to employees, apart from some tweaks in procedure for import of goods such as oxygen concentrator by individuals.
While a major demand for reducing the integrated GST on imported concentrators has been accepted, there are suggestions to simplify rules to remove the need for KYC verification or validation by authorised courier. “Shipments arrive fast but there is a risk of delays because courier operators do not start clearance till they are convinced about an individual’s KYC, which has been mandated,” said a government source.
Besides, with price and demand of medicines such as Remdesivir, Favipiravir and Tocilizumab rising and black marketing rampant, companies have demanded that they should be allowed to import these drugs directly for their employees. They have suggested that provision should be made for registered companies to import 500 doses of drugs such as Remdesivir, which they will issues free of cost to their employees and vendors employees against prescription issued by doctors.
“As we are experiencing an unprecedented surge in number of Covid-19 cases across the country, oxygen and essential drugs for the disease are experiencing severe shortage. Drugs such as Favipiravir, Tocilizumab & Remdesivir are used for the treatment of this disease and therefore currently in high demand. This demand is also compounded by the fear of its possible shortage in the coming days. This dearth has resulted in an opportunity for pharmaceutical vendors to black market the essential drugs several times it’s official price, leading to victims being forced to cough up the amount in desperation to save his/her kin,” said one of the representations to the department of pharmaceuticals.