Exempt desi valve from tax
CHENNAI: The ‘made in India’ heart valve that can replace a leaky or a diseased one without a surgery, is now available across the country and a group of cardiologists is urging the Centre to exempt or at least reduce the Rs 1.36 lakh tax levied on the life-saving device. The cost of the valve is nearly 45% less compared to the imported ones, but tax exemption can push the difference to nearly 60%, doctors say.
Severe aortic valve stenosis or narrowing of the aortic valve, that hampers blood flow from heart to the rest of the body can be a life-threatening condition requiring valve replacement. Conventionally, doctors cut open the ribs, remove the diseased valve and sew a synthetic man-made one. But surgery is not recommended for many patients as the risk associated can be greater than the benefits.
However, with a new procedure called transcatheter aortic valve replacement, cardiologists are able to replace valves without a surgery in cath labs. The valve is sent to heart through tubes inserted from the groin. It is increasingly popular and being used in not just inoperable, or high risk patients but also many others instead of open surgery. “The benefits are huge. Less invasive means lesser blood loss, lesser chances of infection and hospital stay,” said interventional cardiologist Dr G Sengottuvelu.
Until recently these valves cost over Rs 22 lakh as they had to be imported from other countries. In December, Gujarat-based Meril Life Sciences launched its first indigenously designed and manufactured artificial aortic valve after it got approval from Drug Controller General of India.
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