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Posted at: Jun 28, 2018, 1:37 AM; last updated: Jun 28, 2018, 1:37 AM (IST)

Ban on growth drug oxytocin comes into effect from July 1

Karnataka company to produce it only for domestic purposes

Aditi Tandon

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 27

Major curbs on the production and sale of growth hormone oxytocin will come into effect from July 1 with the government determined to end its misuse.

All private manufacturing of oxytocin will end from July 1 and its production for domestic use will be restricted to only one public sector company, Karnataka Antibiotics and Pharmaceuticals Limited (KAPL).

This move follows a previous ban on imports of oxytocin used heavily in enhancing puberty among child victims of sex trafficking, inducing child birth and boosting the growth of vegetables and fruits.

The Health Ministry on Wednesday said: “From July 1, no private manufacturer will be allowed to manufacture the drug for domestic use. Only KAPL, a public sector company, will be manufacturing this drug for domestic use from that date. The oxytocin formulations meant for domestic consumption will be supplied by the 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 chemists.” Registered hospitals that want oxytocin for medical use will need to place orders directly with KAPL.

The ban on oxytocin imports had come into effect on April 27 this year. Earlier in 2014, the Centre banned oxytocin injections but misuse of the hormone continued. Studies have suggested rural health workers in some areas used oxytocin injections to induce child birth among women during home deliveries. Excessive use of oxytocin in cattle by farmers to improve milk production leading to reduction in the animal’s lifespan was also documented. Humans consuming oxytocin-infested milk can suffer hormonal imbalances.

The latest set of bans follow approvals from the Drugs Technical Advisory Board, a statutory body under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940. New rules say the label of oxytocin formulations produced by KAPL will bear barcodes. The manufacture of oxytocin formulations for export purposes, however, will be open to public and private sector but packs manufactured for exports will also bear barcodes.


A neurotransmitter

Oxytocin is a neurotransmitter and a hormone produced in the hypothalamus. From there, it is transported to and secreted by the pituitary gland at the base of the brain. It plays a role in the female reproductive functions from sexual activity to childbirth and breast feeding.

Why banned

The move follows proof of gross misuse of the growth hormone for sexual maturation of child victims of sex trafficking, improvement of milch cattle performance, inducement of child birth and for better appearance of vegetables and fruits.

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