|Following the increased instances of alleged misuse of oxytocin injections by the farmers to increase the size of vegetables, the regulatory authorities are planning sterner actions including the restriction of its sale only to the licensed manufacturers to curb its misuse.
The drug controllers from different states are learnt to have reported to the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) about the growing misuse of oxytocin and the clandestine manufacturing and sale of the same.
“The drug is available as unlabelled or wrongly labelled packs. Many of the States like UP, Delhi have taken action by seizing stocks on the basis of intelligence gathered. As the manufacture and sale of these products is done through clandestine channels, it becomes difficult to stop their misuse except through continuous surveillance. As the bulk drug (oxytocin) is being manufactured in a few States only, the diversion of the bulk drug to the illegal channels could be curtailed to a large extent if it is ensured that the bulk drug is sold to the licensed manufacturer only,” sources said.
As per the reports, the injections were being misused by the farmers to increase the size of vegetables and by the dairy owners to extract milk from cows and buffaloes. The use of oxytocin in growing vegetables and its harmful effects etc. on humans because of consumption of such vegetables does not come under the purview of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act (D&C Act). However, diversion of the drug for any unauthorized use is a matter of concern and the authorities can initiate action.
The oxytocin has medical use for induction and augmentation of labour, to control post partum bleeding and uterine hypo tonicity and is included under Schedule H. The oxytocin injection is required to be packed in single unit blister pack only for sale and is required to be dispensed on the prescription of a Registered Medical Practitioner only, according to the existing norms.
The DCG(I) had earlier written to the State Drugs Controllers to check and unearth the clandestine manufacture and sale of drug to the farmers or dairy owners in violation of the provision of the D&C Rules through surveillance and raids conducted on the possible hide outs where such activities are being undertaken.
The manufacture and sale of the drug with or without a licence for such clandestine activity is an offence under the D&C Act. The amended penal provisions of the Act make such offences cognizable and non-bailable.