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Kenya's cancer patients hang by a thread as drugs held

Main Topix: Railway Development Levy Act - Kenyatta National Hospital
Patients diagnosed with chronic leukemia are almost at death’s door, and could walk through it while the taxman continues to hold their free medical supplies over an unpaid levy. John Githinji, a retired teacher, and Ramadhan Rajab, a driver with the Embassy of Sudan in Kenya, diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), have been depending on a cancer drug - Glivec - for more than five years now. They now each have less than a week’s dose left and are wondering what will happen to them if the recent consignment currently being held by the Kenya Revenue Authority is not released soon. The stock in the custody of KRA is worth Sh350 million meant to last for two to three months. And the beneficiaries are required to pay over Sh5.6 million as the 1.5 per cent Railway Development Levy to access the drugs. All duty and tax have been waived in the past, until the recent introduction of Railway Development Levy Act, which requires a remittance of 1.5 per cent for all imports for domestic use. The Treasury seeks to...