Maharashtra State Pharmacy Council Executive Member Harish Ganeshani has demanded a waiver of all taxes of medicines, in view of growing demand during the CIVID19 pandemic.
The medicines are purchased with bargaining for price, by the needy. The Government is collecting 5, per cent, 12 per cent, 18 per cent GST on medicines under different categories and 28 per cent on nutrition supplements.
It is adequately clear that the Minimum Retail Price printed to the medicine pack is much higher that their manufacturing cost. The pharmacists are getting 10 per cent to 15 per cent on the MRP. At the same time those selling Generic Medicine are earning more. The governments at the state and centre made wide publicity of Generic Medicine as medicine for poor.
The shops selling generic medicine are getting them for a very low price, compared to branded ones available at other pharmacies. The margin for Generic Medicine pharmacists is much more compared to others.
Out of sale of Rs 40,000 a pharmacists earns around Rs 5.000 to Rs 7,000, while Generic Medicine shop owners get Rs 15,000 to Rs 20,000 for the same turnover, Ganeshani stated.
A Generic Medicine shop owner stated that the margin is higher as the manufacturers save on marketing. The research products of the manufacturing companies are not made available at Generic Medicine shops. Most of them are selling medicines for common health problems like Blood Pressure, Diabetes, Thyroidism, Heart disease etc. The quality of raw material is also compromised for Generic Medicine. If branded medicine at pharmacies has 90 per cent to 99 per cent purity or efficacy, those in Generic Medicine shops have 80 per cent purity.
Medicine with MRP Rs 100 is given to Generic Shop for Rs 15 to Rs 20. They make it available to the buyers for Rs 50. This appears to be 50 per cent rebate. The other pharmacies – non-generic – cannot afford such discounts.
The only solution to the current problem is waiver of all kind of taxes by the government, at least on life saving drugs.
The Pharmacist Council is likely to write to the State Government on this issue, the sources have stated. The Union Government, which has authority in waiving GST, can take the decision, if the State Government follows the issue with it.