The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has restricted the manufacture of Oxytocin formulations for domestic use to public sector only.
Coupled with this, it has also banned the import of Oxytocin and its formulations.
The order comes into effect from July 1.
Only Karnataka Antibiotics & Pharmaceuticals Ltd. (KAPL), a public sector company, will manufacture this drug for domestic use.
It will supply the drug to registered hospitals and clinics in public and private sector directly.
Oxytocin is a naturally-occurring hormone that causes uterine contractions during labour and helps new mothers lactate.
However, the drug is misused in the dairy industry where livestock is injected with Oxytocin to make them release milk at a time convenient to farmers.
Used in vegetables
Oxytocin is also used to increase the size of vegetables such as pumpkins, watermelons, eggplants, gourds, and cucumbers.
Previously the High Court of Himachal Pradesh and Shimla had in its judgment on March 15, 2016, titled ‘Court on its own motion’ versus State of Himachal Pradesh and others, observed that there is large-scale clandestine manufacture and sale of the drug Oxytocin leading to its misuse.
The High Courts had also observed that the feasibility of restricting the manufacture 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.
The Board recommended 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 its misuse.
Not for sale
The Ministry in its statement noted that Oxytocin formulations meant for domestic consumption will be supplied by the manufacturer, i.e. KAPL, to registered hospitals and clinics in public and private sector directly. Oxytocin in any form or name will not be allowed to be sold through retail chemist.