The Union Health Ministry’s ban on the retail sale and private manufacture of oxytocin, expected to kick off on September 1, is an extremely ill-thought-out one. The drug, a synthetic version of a human hormone, is a life-saver for women. Doctors use it to induce labour in pregnant women and to stem postpartum bleeding. So critical is its role in maternal health that the World Health Organization recommends it as the drug of choice in postpartum haemorrhage.

The government’s ban ignores this, and is motivated instead by the misuse of the hormone in the dairy industry. Because oxytocin stimulates lactation in cattle, dairy farmers inject the drug indiscriminately to increase milk production. This has spawned several unlicensed facilities that manufacture the drug for veterinary use. It is a problem that needs solving. But the right approach would have been to strengthen regulation, and crack down on illegal production. Much is unknown about the ill-effects of oxytocin on cattle.

One of the concerns was that oxytocin leads to infertility in dairy animals, and some studies show this to be true. It has also been linked to mastitis, a painful inflammation of the udder. Milk consumers worry about exposure to it through dairy products. The science behind some of these claims is unclear. In a Lok Sabha answer in 2015, the National Dairy Research Institute was quoted as saying there was no evidence that oxytocin led to infertility. A 2014 study by researchers at the National Institute of Nutrition concluded that oxytocin content in buffalo milk did not alter with injections.

However, even if the ill-effects of oxytocin are real, a ban is not the answer. Oxytocin is simply too important to Indian women, 45,000 of whom die due to causes related to childbirth each year. A parallel to the situation lies in the misuse of antibiotics in humans and poultry. So heavily are these drugs used that they are causing deadly bacteria to become resistant to them. Yet, despite calls for a complete ban on over-the-counter sale of antibiotics, India has been reluctant to do so.

In much of rural India, more people still die due to a lack of antibiotics than due to antibiotic-resistance. This has swung the cost-benefit ratio against outright bans. In oxytocin’s case, if only a single public sector unit manufactures the drug, as the government plans, this could lead to drug shortages and price hikes. Karnataka Antibiotics & Pharmaceuticals Limited, the drugmaker tasked with manufacturing oxytocin, has been asked to cap the price at ₹16.56 for 1 ml of a five international unit (IU) solution. However, some private manufacturers were selling it for ₹4 until now. Monopolising production will remove the low-price options from the market. Such a situation may benefit cattle, but will put the lives of many women at risk.

courtesy : thehindu.com

 

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Meerut (UP) (PTI): Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) president Tejasvi Surya claimed on Tuesday that the BJP will get more seats in next year's Lok Sabha polls compared to the 2019 general election.

He also said the "double-engine" government led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has changed the face of Uttar Pradesh.

Addressing a BJYM convention in Meerut, Surya said, "The BJP will get more seats in the 2024 polls than in 2019 and (Prime Minister Narendra) Modiji will score a hat-trick for a third innings."

The member of Parliament from Bangalore South also alleged that before 2014, when the Modi government came to power, there was a misrule in the country, adding that nine years of the Modi government have proved to be more effective than the 70 previous years. People's welfare is the topmost priority of this government, he said.

Surya said the "double-engine" government has changed the face of Uttar Pradesh, adding that thanks to Prime Minister Modi and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, the law-and-order scenario of the state has also improved.

"Double engine" is a term often used by BJP leaders to refer to the saffron party being in power at the Centre as well as in a state.

Surya said under Modi's leadership, India has got respect at the global stage, which is only increasing.

The prime minister is trying to take the country to new heights, he added.