Issues with use of Oxytocin

Context

  • The final decision on whether the government can block private pharmaceutical companies from manufacturing and selling vital pregnancy drug oxytocin in India handed to the Supreme Court.

About Oxytocin

  • Oxytocin, also known as the ‘love hormone’, is a hormone secreted by the pituitary glands of mammals during sex, childbirth, lactation or social bonding.
  • It is secreted by pitutary glands in human body.
  • However, it can also be chemically manufactured and is sold by pharma companies for use during childbirth.
  • It is administered either as an injection or a nasal solution.

Importance of it

  • Oxytocin is a uterine stimulant hormone, prescribed for the initiation of uterine contractions and induction of labour in women, as well as stimulation of contractions during labour.
  • Oxytocin helps promote the release of breast milk.
  • It is also used to help abort the foetus in cases of incomplete abortion or miscarriage, and to control bleeding after childbirth.
  • It is also used widely in the dairy industry, agriculture and horticulture to boost production.

About the case:

  • The health ministry in April 2018 notified a ban on private firms from manufacturing and selling oxytocin.
  • 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.
  • Following a case by drug makers like some private players the Delhi High Court in December 18 quashed the ban on various grounds, including that it lacked scientific basis.
  • The government has appealed the decision at the Supreme Court, arguing that the Karnataka PSUhas built up the capacity to manufacture and supply the required quantity of the drug here.

Source:IE