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Kerala CM Seeks Tax Waiver for Imported Drug Obtained Through Crowdfunding

File photo of Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan.

File photo of Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan.

'Tom, Dick and Harry' cannot be permitted to raise funds, said HC

Days after a crowdfunding initiative helped generate a whopping Rs 18 crore in Kerala to buy a life-saving drug for a child suffering from a spinal issue, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Friday urged the Centre to waive off the taxes involved, even as the Kerala High Court batted against such a fund mobilisation drive. The court said every ‘Tom, Dick and Harry’ cannot be permitted to raise funds for the cause.

Vijayan wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking a waiver of tax and customs duty on the imported drug. In a letter to Modi, he detailed the plight of 18 month-old Muhammed, a native of Kannur district, who is undergoing treatment for Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) with the drug used in its cure costing Rs 18 crore, including taxes.

SMA is a rare disease. Noting that the medicine for SMA is ‘prohibitively expensive’ and ‘unaffordable’ for the child’s family, Vijayan said it costs a whopping Rs 18 crore and is proposed to be imported from the US.

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first published:July 09, 2021, 19:25 IST