The scheduled ban on manufacture of Oxytocin formulations by the private sector, which was to come into effect from July 1, has been deferred by two months, a top official said today.
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 ban has now been deferred by two months, as decided by the Health Ministry," Drug Controller General India (DCGI) S Eswara Reddy said.
From the day the ban comes into effect, only Karnataka Antibiotics and Pharmaceuticals Ltd (KAPL), a public sector company, would be manufacturing the drug for domestic use. 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.
"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," the health ministry had said last month.
The ministry has advised all registered hospitals and clinics in public and private sectors in the country to contact KAPL and place their orders with the company as the drug will not be available with retail chemists or any other manufacturer.
The Himachal Pradesh High Court, in its judgment in 2016, had observed that large-scale clandestine manufacture and sale of oxytocin was leading to its grave misuse, which was harmful to animals and humans.
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