SO WHAT JUST HAPPENED?
The Delhi High Court set aside the government decision to ban private firms from producing and selling oxytocin, a drug used for inducing labour contractions and controlling bleeding
- Oxytocin has also been dubbed the hug hormone, cuddle chemical, moral molecule, and the bliss hormone due to its effects on behaviour, including its role in love and in female reproductive biological functions in reproduction.
- Oxytocin is a hormone that is made in the brain, in the hypothalamus. It is transported to, and secreted by, the pituitary gland, which is located at the base of the brain.
- It acts both as a hormone and as a brain neurotransmitter.
- The release of oxytocin by the pituitary gland acts to regulate two female reproductive functions: Childbirth and Breast-feeding.
WHY WAS IT BANNED?
The drug is misused in the dairy industry where livestock is injected with Oxytocin to make them release milk at a time convenient to farmers. Oxytocin is also used to increase the size of vegetables such as pumpkins, watermelons, eggplants, gourds, and cucumbers.
DURING THE BAN
As per the Centre’s April 27 notification, the state-run Karnataka Antibiotics and Pharmaceuticals Ltd (KAPL) was solely allowed by the Centre to make the drug to meet the country’s needs.
OBSERVATIONS MADE BY THE COURT
The government’s decision was arbitrary and unreasonable. There was no scientific basis behind the Centre’s decision restricting private companies from making or supplying the drug, which helps new mothers lactate, to prevent its alleged misuse in the dairy sector for increasing milk production.
WHAT CAN WE DO IN THE FUTURE?
- Carbetocin: The World Health Organization (WHO) has come up with a safe and effective alternative to the controversial drug oxytocin.
- While Oxytocin, must be stored and transported at 2–8 degrees Celsius, and becomes less effective when exposed to heat, Carbetocin does not require refrigeration and retains its efficacy for at least three years even if it is stored at 30 degrees Celsius, and in 75% relative humidity.