Centre to move Supreme Court seeking ban on production of Oxytocin

Continuing its battle to restrain the production of life-saving hormone Oxytocin, the Centre plans to move the Supreme Court, appealing for a ban on private manufacturing and sale of the crucial drug, said sources close to the development. The Delhi High Court had, on December 15, quashed the government order of restricting the manufacturing and sale of Oxytocin to only one public sector outfit — Karnataka Antibiotics and Pharmaceuticals (KAPL) — which continues the bulk production of the hormone.

Nirja Saraf, managing director of KAPL, told Business Standard that the PSU will not stop the manufacturing until further notification from the health ministry. “We have been manufacturing 180,000 ampules of the drug on a daily basis, which will increase to 320,000 ampules from April,” she said.

The company, tasked by the Centre to make the life-saving hormone after it had prohibited private companies from manufacturing the same, is already sitting on a stock of about 2.5 million ampules. KAPL has also stopped the production of several drugs such as Ranitidine and Diclofenac to manufacture Oxytocin in bulk.  Oxytocin, recognised as an essential drug, is used to induce labour pain and control bleeding after child birth.  The health ministry had in April sent out a notification prohibiting all private companies from manufacturing Oxytocin for domestic use, and stopped its distribution through retail after allegations that the drug was misused by the dairy industry to increase production of milk.

However, the Delhi HC in its order stated that “the Union of India did not adequately weigh in the danger to the users of Oxytocin, nor consider the deleterious effect to the public generally and women particularly, of possible restricted supply if its manufacture is confined to one unit.”

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