States asked to look out for artificial shortage of the life-saving drug

The Union Health Ministry today held a video conference with the States/UTs on various issues relating to regulation of Oxytocin. From September 1 oxytocin can only be manufactured in government setups.

The Centre assessed the stock of Oxytocin in the States to ensure that there is no shortage once the ban comes into effect. The move has been taken to prevent the use of oxytocin – a female hormone involved in milk production – in the dairy industry and agriculture. It is often injected into vegetables to increase their size. Cows are injected with oxytocin to increase their milk output. All of this is done illegally, leaving consumers to deal with the health hazards of unwarranted exposure to oxytocin.

The High Court of Himachal Pradesh, Shimla, had, in its judgment dated 15.3.2016 in CWPIL No. 16 of 2014 titled ‘Court on its own motion’ versus State of Himachal Pradesh and others, observed that there is large scale clandestine manufacture and sale of the drug Oxytocin leading to its grave misuse, which is harmful to animals and humans. It had also observed that the feasibility of restricting the manufacture of Oxytocin only in public sector companies should be considered.

In the meeting, additional secretary Manoj Jhalani clarified that Oxytocin has not been banned in the country, only its manufacture for domestic market has been restricted in the public sector through Karnataka Antibiotics and Pharmaceuticals Ltd. (KAPL) with effect from 1st September, 2018.

He further said that the private manufacturers of oxytocin can very well manufacture the drug for export purpose. Jhalani also emphasized that the government will ensure that there is no shortage of Oxytocin when the changed dispensation comes into effect.

KAPL has started a 24 hour Helpline number: 080- 23577595. It also assured that it shall be revising its bulk purchase pricing.

The States were requested to ensure availability of Oxytocin Injection in all Government hospitals/clinics by placing purchase order to KAPL Ltd. As Oxytocin Injection is a lifesaving drug and now with its restricted manufacture and sale through KAPL, all procurement agencies of State Governments shall ensure sufficient stocks are available at any given point of time.

Jhalani emphasized that all States shall keep a vigil on any artificial shortage of Oxytocin Injection in their States. The States Authorities were also asked to ensure availability of Oxytocin Injection in all government hospitals by placing orders to KAPL and also have meeting with all stakeholders like FOGSI, IMA, PMBJP, etc., to ensure its availability in all private clinics also.

The States have been advised to assess their requirement of the drug and to place the orders with KAPL in time. Most states indicated that they have sufficient stock, and would also be placing orders to meet the requirement of Government sector hospitals.

KAPL has started a 24 hour Helpline number: 080- 23577595. It also assured that it shall be revising its bulk purchase pricing.

The Government also asked the States to mount awareness campaigns about the government notification on restricting the manufacture and sale of Oxytocin to KAPL and asked KAPL Ltd to ensure a robust supply chain to prevent any stock outs.

The Ministry shall be reviewing the production and distribution of Oxytocin drug on a regular basis.

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