Is Oxytocin Ban Based On Any Data Or Study, Asks Delhi High Court

Is Oxytocin Ban Based On Any Data Or Study, Asks Delhi High Court

New Delhi, 21 Sept 2018: Questioning the rationale behind the ban by the Central government on the manufacture, distribution, sale and import of Oxytocin by private companies, the Delhi High Court yesterday asked the Centre if the decision was based on any empirical data, study or material.


A Division Bench of the High Court comprising Justices S Ravindra Bhat and AK Chawla was hearing a batch of petitions by private Oxytocin manufacturers/ sellers, BGP Products Operations GmbH and Neon Laboratories, and NGO All India Drug Action Network, challenging the Government’s move to grant monopoly to manufacture and sell Oxytocin for domestic consumption to State-run Karnataka Antibiotics and Pharmaceuticals Ltd.


The Central Government vide notification dated April 27, 2018, had prohibited the sale, distribution, manufacture and import of Oxytocin by private manufacturers,  to control and prevent its “rampant abuse”. One of the prominent misuses of Oxytocin, the Central Government has argued, is in the dairy sector to enhance lactation of livestock.


Additional Solicitor General Maninder Kaur Acharya placed several department files, documents and committee findings before the Bench and submitted that the decision was arrived at after due deliberations.


We have been trying (to curb oxytocin misuse) from 1999. States have been writing letters to us, we have been writing to the States. I had the authority under Section 26 A (of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940) and I was fully satisfied (in terms of the Section). This was not our first line of action. We thought of other actions as well. This was our last resort“, she said.


Section 26A of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 grants power to the Central Government to prohibit manufacture, etc. of drugs, if it is satisfied that the move is necessary for the public interest.


The Bench, however, questioned the ASG on how this satisfaction was reached.


What was the level of satisfaction that was achieved before the ban? Where is the assessment on granular basis?“, Justice Bhat asked.


Justice Bhat queried if there was any data or study available on the level and intensity of Oxytocin abuse in the country, especially in the dairy sector.


Justice Chawla further asked about the number of search and seizure drives undertaken by the Government to procure illegally used Oxytocin in the dairy sector.


After AG Acharya stated that Oxytocin was being “sold in the market beyond its requirement”, the Bench remarked that an absolute ban on its manufacture could not be justified on that account.


Did you take into account the production capacity of each one of them?“, the Court asked.


The Court also observed that the ban would, in fact, create a conducive environment for Oxytocin’s illegal trade to flourish.


The ban which was slated to come into effect from September 1, 208 has been deferred by the Court till October 1, for now.Bar & Bench