Doctors warn against possible oxytocin shortage

Centre has limited procurement to one public sector company

Published - July 24, 2018 01:49 am IST - NEW DELHI

Questioning the Centre’s hurry to limit oxytocin procurement to a single public sector company, doctors have warned that the move may lead to acute shortage of the life-saving drug.

The government had brought in the ban to “contain unregulated and illegal use of oxytocin”, which they said is likely to involve risk to human beings or animals.

“In public interest, it is necessary and expedient to regulate and restrict its manufacture, sale and distribution to prevent its misuse by unauthorised persons or otherwise,” the Centre noted.

K.V. Babu from Payyanur, Kerala, said hospitals and nursing homes are worried. “Shortage of oxytocin will cost pregnant women dearly. It is a key drug doctors use to prevent death due to post-partum haemorrhage [PPH] or heavy blood loss during childbirth,” Dr. Babu said.

The Federation of Obstetrics and Gynaecological Societies of India too has written to the Centre regarding the ban.

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has restricted manufacture of oxytocin formulations for domestic use to public sector only. It has also banned import of oxytocin and its formulations. The regulations with regard to manufacture of oxytocin for domestic use came into force on July 1 and ban on import took place with immediate effect.

Public-sector company Karnataka Antibiotics & Pharmaceuticals Limited (KAPL), which is to produce and distribute oxytocin within the domestic market, noted that it started manufacturing oxytocin injections from July 2 and that these will be made available in August.

“Meanwhile, the Centre has allowed private pharmaceutical companies to manufacture and sell oxytocin injections till August 31...,” it noted.

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