Health Policy 2148

‘Withdrawal of GST exemption for hospital equipment likely to be bad for consumers’

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council’s decision to withdraw exemption from countervailing duty for certain hospital equipment and devices is a bad news for consumers as the hospitals that import equipment are in most likelihood would pass on the higher cost to consumers, says Dr Dharminder Nagar, Managing Director, Paras Healthcare.

“The GST Council’s decision to withdraw exemption from countervailing duty for certain hospital equipment and devices is certainly a bad news for hospitals that import equipment as this will get costlier now. Of course the higher cost will in most likelihood be passed on to consumers,” Dr Nagar said.

“However, the decision seems to have taken with an intent to encourage hospitals to buy locally manufactured equipment which will boost the indigenous medical manufacturing sector,” he added.

The Paras Healthcare Managing Director also stressed on the need to place certain medical devices under lower tax slab.

“For the benefit of healthcare sector and the common people, there is the need to place medical devices such as pacemakers, ICDs and diagnostic equipment under lower tax slabs to allow treatment facilities become more affordable,” Dr Nagar said.

Raising an issue that has gained a lot of traction amongst women across the country, he said the decision of placing sanitary napkins under the 18% tax slab is highly counterproductive. “All commonly required medical and healthcare products should be placed under lower tax slabs under the GST,” he demanded.

According to a recently conducted ASSOCHAM-TechSci study, medicare is likely to become more expensive and unaffordable for common people post implementation of GST.

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