Fact check: has government banned manufacturing of Oxytocin?

Recently, through a notification, the government of India restricted production of Oxytocin formulations for domestic use to public sector only. The original notification states that with effect from 1st July, 2018, only Karnataka Antibiotics & Pharmaceuticals Ltd (KAPL), a public sector company, would be allowed to manufacture the drug and will be supplied by the manufacturer (KAPL) to registered hospitals and clinics in public and private sectors directly. However, as per new circular, the same has been deferred to 1st September.

The drug, which was earlier available at retail outlets, on prescription, will now have to be obtained by clinics directly from KAPL.

Oxytocin is a naturally-occurring hormone that causes uterine contractions during labour and helps new mothers lactate. However, the drug is also prone to misuse as the same is used in cattle industry to increase milk production. Last week on 11th July, two people were arrested with 1,500 bottles of Oxytocin. While Oxytocin helps cattle produce more milk, it has harmful effect on the health of the animals as well as on humans who consume milk that comes from them.

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Twitter user and doctor, Aakash Raj Razdan, listed out where all the drug is grossly misused in India.

The drug is also injected in fruits and vegetables like cucumber, bottle gourd, etc. He further explained how the same has been done in a systematic manner, to curb illegal use of the drug outside of obstetrics. In April this year, India banned import of the hormone in order to stop misuse in the livestock industry. This restriction of manufacturing by private players will come in force from September onward.

So, to conclude, no, the government isn’t ‘banning’ Oxytocin manufacturing, but it is restricting it to try and curb misuse of the hormone. Limiting the pilferage and diversion at the source, i.e. having single source of manufacturing, is one of the ways to try and limit the many misuses of Oxytocin.

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