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Current Affairs

Oxytocin ban

Date: 23 August 2019 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

 

The final decision on whether the government can block private pharmaceutical companies from manufacturing and selling vital pregnancy drug oxytocin in India has been deferred. The Supreme Court has decided the issue needs further deliberation.

 

Background

  • The health Ministry in April 2018 banned private firms from manufacturing and selling oxytocin to avoid its misuse in veterinary field.
  • This was seen as controversial as it could lead to shortage of the crucial drug.

Oxytocin

  • Oxytocin is a hormone secreted by the posterior lobe of the pituitary gland, a pea-sized structure at the base of the brain.
  • It's sometimes known as the "cuddle hormone" or the "love hormone," because it is released when people snuggle up or bond socially.

Importance of Oxytocin

 

Oxytocin is administered to women during childbirth and is crucial to prevent them from bleeding excessively, which is a common cause of maternal deaths in the world including India.

 

Reasons for Ban

  • The unregulated and illegal manufacture of the drug, which is reportedly misused in milch animals.
  • It is claimed that drinking milk from oxytocin-treated cattle led to male impotence, early puberty among women and cancers.
  • The continuous use of oxytocin can make animals addicted to it and thus will fail to produce milk when deprived of it.

Way Forward

 

Due to the drug’s importance to both human and veterinary medicine, the Drugs Technical Advisory Board recommended against a ban, instead implementing better surveillance. A ban might lead to scarcity and high drug prices.