A hormone to facilitate safe childbirth and lactation in women has been rampantly misused by the dairy industry to increase milk production in livestock. It is also being used to increase fruit and vegetable production. A preventive step came when the government announced that now only one public sector company - Karnataka Antibiotics and Pharmaceuticals Limited (KAPL), will manufacture, and sell Oxytocin.
The restriction, however, may cause severe supply constraints for human patients as the demand so far has been met by over a dozen companies through a countrywide retail sales network.
The fact that KAPL could not ramp up its production by the July 1, 2018 deadline set by the government is testimony to this fact. In a country where 130 mothers die in every 100,000 childbirths, the government cannot take any chances.
Alternatives need to be found while ensuring that the regulatory system develops capabilities to prevent misuse of this drug. Creating another monopoly cannot guarantee protection from clandestine activities.
Joe C Mathew