New Delhi: Oxytocin, nicknamed as love hormone, has become a cause celebre being heard by Supreme Court. The apex court heard the matter on Valentine’s Day!
The central government wants monopoly on its production. But High Court ordered otherwise. Now, the government has filed an SLP (Special Leave Petition) in Supreme Court against the order to have its way. On the other hand, Doctors’ bodies have expressed serious reservations as regards monopoly as, they say, it is a matter of life and death for women going for motherhood. It is the only drug available to control bleeding after delivery. The government contention is that it wants monopoly to curb its misuses, one being in dairy sector for augmentation of milk production by injecting cows and buffaloes with this medicine.
The central government wants to limit its production exclusively to one public sector company KAPL (Karnataka Antibiotics and Pharmaceuticals Limited). Interestingly the company neither has the experience nor the capacity to handle such a huge responsibility.
On the other hand, Indian Medical Association, the largest body of doctors and FOGSI (The Federation of Obstetric and Gynecological Societies of India) have expressed serious reservations about government’s move citing its consequences for the women going for motherhood.
Dr. Santanu Sen, National President, IMA and Dr. R.V. Asokan Honorary Secretary General, IMA, in a press release have said, ‘restricting the manufacture instead of the end use is illogical. IMA demands reconsideration of the Government’s policy on this issue on behalf of the young mothers and the obstetricians. Thousands of lives could be saved if the Government pulls back from its current position. IMA would hold the Government responsible for shortages in Oxytocin and unfortunate consequences.’
FOGSI has not directly opposed government’s move but has expressed serious concern regarding possible ramifications. Talking to Medicare News, Dr Nandita Palshekar, President, FOGSI, and a renowned IVF expert, has said our association only wants assurance from the government that monopoly of the production should not result in the shortage of the life saving drug. No woman should die for want of this very crucial birthing medicine. It should be available to all women in all places.
Talking to Medicare News, Dr Ruby Bansal, HOD, Preventive Health, Senior Consultant- HIV/AIDS, Yashoda Super speciality Hospital, said, ‘ It is a very essential medicine for birthing. Its unavailability can result into the death of women during delivery. The government should think twice before taking any radical step, though its misuse needs to be curbed. I think creating monopoly will increase the misuse.’
Curtailing the manufacture of a life saving drug which is listed in the National and WHO Lists of Essential medicines with restrictions, will create artificial bottlenecks and shortages. Whether a single public sector company would be competent to supply to the needs of the entire nation is the important question to be answered. The company itself is on record that any bulk production would take 3-4 years.