The infant’s family from Kerala’s Kannur district was able to afford the medicine, which costs a whopping ₹18 crore, through an online crowdfunding initiative.
Pinarayi Vijayan, the chief minister of Kerala, wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday, requesting him to ask the finance ministry to not impose Customs duty and Integrated Goods and Services Tax on the life-saving medicine Zolgensma, used in the treatment of Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), for a18-month-old Muhammed.
“I request you to give directions to the Union Finance Ministry to take steps not to levy Customs duty and Integrated Goods and Services Tax (IGST) in this case involving import of the life-saving drug ‘Zolgensma’,” Vijayan wrote.
Muhammed’s family, who belong to Kerala’s Kannur district, were able to afford the medicine, that costs a whopping Rs18 crore, through an online crowdfunding initiative. A treatment committee, led by MLA M Vijin, was formed to help procure medicines for the 18-month-old whose parents cannot afford the expensive treatment. The treatment committee informed the public on Monday that crowdfunding efforts have led to the collection of the money required to buy the medicines.
Vijayan in his letter urged the Prime Minister to waive off the GST in a manner in which he had done before for five-month-old Teera Kamat, who was suffering from the same rare genetic condition.
“The price of the medicine which is Rs18 crore is proposed to be mobilised from willing persons and imported from USA. It is learnt from media reports that the Union Government had waived off taxes in a similar case of a 5 month old child who is suffering from SMA in Mumbai,” he wrote.
Muhammad, whose 15-year-old sister also suffers from SMA, will have to be administered the medicine before he attains the age of two.