Private centres to be charged CADA cess on buprenorphine

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CHANDIGARH: The Punjab government will impose Punjab State Cancer and Drug Addiction Treatment Infrastructure Fund Act (CADA) cess on supply of buprenorphine to private drug de-addiction centres. Other than the cess, government will not be charging anything extra for the supply of the medicine.

The decision has been taken to remove the roadblocks in the implementation of the ambitious initiative of the government to provide detoxification medicine at controlled rates to private centres.

As per the notification issued by the state government, CADA cess of Rs 6 per tablet under a section of Punjab State Cancer and Drug Addiction Treatment Infrastructure Fund Act-2013 will be charged on every tablet of buprenorphine supplied by civil surgeons to private drug de-addiction centres in the state. To save the patients from being overcharged by the private centres, the state health department on November 4 had capped the price of one tablet of buprenorphine at Rs 7.5, which the centres were earlier selling between Rs 30 and Rs 40. Subsequently, the Punjab Health Systems Corporation (PHSC) on November 13 issued guidelines for supply of medicine to private centres at fixed rates.

The roll out of the ambitious plan was hit by a roadblock due to the lack of clarity over collection of money from these centres. The biggest obstacles were corporation’s mandate of barring it from selling medicines and issue of GST. Besides, the corporation is exempted from income tax.

A senior official of the health department said, “The decision of imposing CADA cess was taken after much deliberation. By imposing CADA cess, the government will be able to implement its plan of providing buprenorphine at controlled rates to private centres without violating any norm,” said the official on request of anonymity.

As per the PHSC guidelines, civil surgeons have been made nodal officers of their respective jurisdictions for supplying buprenorphine to private centres. The latter will have to pay the cess to the civil surgeon in advance before lifting the batch of medicines from the store while the civil surgeons will have to deposit the cess collected every month on the first working day of every month in the CADA fund.

The 18 private centres, which were penalised for dispensing sub-standard medicines, must purchase them from the government at Rs 6 per tablet, while the others have the option of sourcing it on their own.

How the cess collected will be used

According to the rules framed by the government, the funds collected by imposing CADA cess are to be used for creating and upgrading infrastructure, including buildings, machinery and equipment for treatment and rehabilitation of cancer patients, along with those there for de-addiction. The authorities can use the fund for creating awareness about ill-effects of drugs, drug addiction and welfare of patients afflicted with cancer and drug abuse in the state. CADA funds will also be used for strengthening the enforcement capabilities for combating illicit drug trafficking.