New Delhi: From July 1, no private manufacturer will be allowed to manufacture Oxytocin for domestic use.
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 Ministry of Health has restricted the manufacture of Oxytocin formulations for domestic use to public sector only. Now only Karnataka Antibiotics and Pharmaceuticals Ltd (KAPL), a public sector company, would be manufacturing this drug for domestic use from that date.
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," a health ministry statement said.
The ministry has advised all registered hospitals and clinics in public and private sector 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 move is part of an effort to check the misuse of oxytocin by dairy operators and some farmers," a senior ministry official said.
The Himachal Pradesh High Court had in its judgment in 2016 observed that large-scale clandestine manufacture and sale of oxytocin was leading to its grave misuse, which was harmful to animals and humans.