Oxytocin ban

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Topics Covered:

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: 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, with the Supreme Court deciding the issue needs further deliberation. 

 

Background:

The health ministry in April 2018 notified a ban on private firms from manuacturing and selling oxytocin, stating that it wanted to restrict the responsibility of supplying the drug to a Karnataka-based public sector manufacturer to avoid its misuse in the veterinary field.

 

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.

 

About Oxytocin:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • It acts both as a hormone and as a brain neurotransmitter.
  • The release of oxytocin by the pituitary gland acts to regulate two female reproductive functions: Childbirth and Breast-feeding.

 

Why is it vital?

Oxytocin helps contract the uterus and induce delivery, control bleeding, and promote the release of breast milk. Its use is especially crucial to prevent new mothers from excessively bleeding after giving birth—a common cause of maternal deaths. According to an India sample registration scheme survey conducted in 2001-2003, postpartum hemorrhage accounted for 38 per cent of maternal deaths.

 

Reasons behind the ban are:

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.

Oxytocin is also used to increase the size of vegetables such as pumpkins, watermelons, eggplants, gourds, and cucumbers.

 

Sources: the Hindu.