New Delhi 28 Apr 2018
As part of its efforts to check the misuse of oxytocin by dairy operators and some farmers, the union health ministry has restricted its manufacture for domestic use to public sector only.
The government has also banned the import of oxytocin and its formulations, besides bringing in some more regulations on the manufacture and sale of the controversial hormone.
The regulations will come into force on July 1, while the ban on import takes immediate effect, according to an official statement.
Oxytocin is a naturally-occurring hormone that causes uterine contractions during labour and helps new mothers lactate.
But its misuse is widespread in the dairy industry where livestock are injected with oxytocin to make them release milk at a time convenient to farmers. The hormone is also used to increase the size of vegetables such as pumpkins, watermelons, brinjals, gourds and cucumbers.
The High Court of Himachal Pradesh had in its judgment dated March 15, 2016 observed a large scale clandestine manufacturing and sale of oxytocin, leading to its grave misuse, which is harmful to animals and humans.
Amongst others, the court had also observed that the feasibility of restricting the manufacturing of oxytocin only in public sector companies should be considered.
The matter was considered by the Drugs Technical Advisory Board, a statutory body constituted under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, which recommended that oxytocin formulations for human use be regulated and restricted to be supplied only to registered hospitals and clinics in public and private sector to prevent misuse.
“The central government, on the basis of the recommendations of the board and after examination of the matter, was satisfied that unregulated and illegal use of oxytocin is likely to involve risk to human beings or animals. PTI