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Delhi HC orders stay on oxytocin ban till October

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on August 31, 2018 Published on August 31, 2018

In a move that ensures oxytocin is amply available to all patients that seek it, the Delhi High Court has ordered a stay on the Union Health Ministry's order to ban the crucial drug. Oxytocin is a drug to halt complications that may arise in women like bleeding during child birth.

The Health Ministry had earlier said that from July the drug will not be available at retail private chemist stores and that private pharmaceutical companies like Mylan will have to stop manufacturing the drug. Later, the Ministry noted that the ban will be enforced in September. But the HC has stayed the ban till October.

The HC observed that the Ministry cannot throw the baby out with the bathwater and that there may be stray cases of misuse but that may not call for a blanket ban. The court pointed out that the Ministry should empirically show how much oxytocin was being allegedly diverted for misuse by the manufacturers.

The Delhi High Court was hearing arguments back-to-back for two days between Mylan and All India Drug Action Network (AIDAN) which took legal action against the Health Ministry to oppose the ban. The Health Ministry had contended that there were certain illegal cases of misuse of oxytocin in animals such as cows for jacking up their milk production, but failed to produce any academic studies to back its contentions.

All they submitted in their affidavit to court were media articles from newspapers. The HC also questioned the Ministry if it had enough data of organised dairies in India to understand the issue of misuse of oxytocin in animals.

The Ministry had decided that from September 1, only Karnataka Antibiotics and Pharmaceuticals Ltd would manufacture and distribute oxytocin. While the Ministry earlier had also noted that private retail chemists will not allowed to stock the drug, it later back tracked and said in a gazetted notification that they can stock it under Schedule H1, in which they will have to maintain a register of the drug sale and similar details.

Published on August 31, 2018

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