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Oxytocin ban

Topics Covered:

  1. Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.


Oxytocin ban


What to study?

  • For Prelims: Oxytocin related facts.
  • For Mains: Why was it banned? Concerns associated with the ban? What’s the way out?


Context: Indian Medical Association has said Karnataka Antibiotics and Pharmaceuticals Ltd (KAPL) neither has the experience nor the capacity to handle Oxytocin production.


What’s the issue?

The Delhi high court had quashed the Centre’s December 14, 2018 notification, which had banned its sale by private manufacturers and retail chemists, saying the sale was allowed. Essentially, this meant that only KAPL could produce the drug as there is no other public sector enterprise doing so. However, Delhi high court quashed the amended order too. The central government moved Supreme Court against the Delhi high court order.


What’s the concern now?

KAPL has said bulk production of the drug would take three-four years. This would put lives of many pregnant women at risk as it would lead to acute shortages.

With the ban, the government did not adequately weigh in the danger of its order to the users of oxytocin, nor consider the deleterious effect of possible restricted supply if manufacture is confined to one unit on pregnant women and young mothers.


What can be done?

Strict control on illegal imports of the drug: Most of the veterinary use comes from illegal import of oxytocin from neighbouring countries. The misuse could be prevented through strict control in sale and end use of the drug especially prevention through clandestine channels.


About Oxytocin:

  1. Oxytocin has also been dubbed the hug hormone, cuddle chemical, moral molecule, and the bliss hormone due to its effects on behavior, including its role in love and in female reproductive biological functions in reproduction.
  2. Oxytocin is a hormone that is made in the brain, in the hypothalamus. It is transported to, and secreted by, the pituitary gland, which is located at the base of the brain.
  3. It acts both as a hormone and as a brain neurotransmitter.
  4. The release of oxytocin by the pituitary gland acts to regulate two female reproductive functions: Childbirth and Breast-feeding.


Reasons behind the ban are:

  1. Misuse in diary industry: 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.
  2. Oxytocin is also used to increase the size of vegetables such as pumpkins, watermelons, eggplants, gourds, and cucumbers.


Sources: down to earth.