Banned hormonal injection Oxytocin seized from dairy owners
Despite a ban on Oxytocin in India, violators are managing to lay their hands on the ‘hormonal injection’, widely used in dairy industry to boost milk production in cows and buffaloes, by importing the drug in disguised names.
The Union Health Ministry has recently seized the imported Oxytocin vials under disguised names of peptides and amino acids. Oxytocin is a peptide of nine amino acids (a nonapeptide).
“Misuse of oxytocin by importing it in the form active pharmaceutical ingredients under disguised names of custom peptides, other peptides and amino acids has been unearthed,” a senior official in the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) under Union Health Ministry said.
ACTION TO BE TAKEN
Dr GN Singh, Drugs Controller General (India) has directed all state drugs controllers to have continuous surveillance and book the culprits. All post offices have also been asked to carefully scrutinize all such consignments of import under the above names or any other names before release of the consignment. In March 2016, drug control officers in Hyderabad seized 140 vials of oxytocin. The drug was stored in unlicensed premises and the vials did not have any labels. Similarly, in September 2015, large quantities of oxytocin injections were seized from a person during a raid conducted by a team of the Drugs Control Department near New Delhi Railway Station.
USE OF Oxytocin
Oxytocin is a peptide hormone secreted by the posterior pituitary gland and is now chemically synthesised. It has medical use for induction and augmentation of labour, to control post- partum bleeding and uterine hypotonicity. The drug is also used in veterinary in case of retention of placenta and expulsion of foetus.
“Oxytocin injections are being illicitly used by dairy owners to extract milk leading to its harmful effects on humans as well as livestock. We want a strict surveillance for this drug. Despite a ban, it is being used in the dairy industry without a prescription from a registered medical practitioner. We want to curb this practice,” said Dr Jagdish Prasad, Director General of Health Services (DGHS), Union Health Ministry.
DRUGS AND COSMETICS RULES
Under the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945, oxytocin is a Schedule-H drug and is required to be supplied on the prescription of a registered medical practitioner only. The formulation of oxytocin injection is required to be packed in single unit blister packed only to avoid its misuse.
In order to ensure that the drug is used for legitimate purposes, the health ministry had issued a notification under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 mandating that the manufacturers of bulk oxytocin drug shall supply the active pharmaceutical drug only to the manufacturers licensed under the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945.
In spite of these provisions the drug in the form of injection (crude concoction) continues to be sold in a clandestine way to dairy owners.
Union Minister of Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi had also taken up the matter with the secretary of Union health ministry stating that misuse of oxytocin in animals is leading to a substantial loss of livestock in the country.