New Delhi: The environment ministry has called for restricting the use of painkiller drug Diclofenac to a "single dose" package for humans to avoid its misuse for veterinary purposes and thereby cause a steep decline in the vulture population, an official statement said on Friday.
"Keeping in view the severity of the situation and the need to conserve and protect vultures from extinction, the ministry of environment, forest and climate change has requested the ministry of health and family welfare to restrict the pack of Diclofenac for human use to single dose only," the environment ministry said.
In 2006, it was banned for veterinary use as the drug, which was used to treat inflammation in livestock, was fatal for vultures with kidney and liver failure when they ate carcasses of animals treated with the drug.
"Even after banning the use of Diclofenac for veterinary use, the multi-dose vials available in the market for human use were widely misused for veterinary purpose. This, in turn, has a severe impact on the population of vultures," the statement said.
The commonly used anti-inflammatory drug for cattle was considered the "chief reason" for the steep decline in the number of vultures in recent years, it added.