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No, Govt can't ban private cos from making-selling 'love hormones': HC

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Friday set aside the Centre's decision to ban private firms from making and selling oxytocin, a drug which induces labour and controls bleeding during child birth. A bench of Justices S Ravindra Bhat and A K Chawla quashed the government's April 27 notification imposing the ban, saying it was "arbitrary and unreasonable".

Oxytocin is a hormone and a neurotransmitter that is involved in childbirth and breast-feeding. It is also associated with empathy, trust, sexual activity, and relationship building. It is sometimes referred to as the "love hormone," because levels of oxytocin increase during hugging and orgasm.

Oxytocin is produced in the hypothalamus, a part of the brain. Females usually have higher levels than males.

The court also said the Centre's decision to allow only a single state-run entity with no prior experience in manufacturing oxytocin to make and sell the drug, which has wide public use, was "fraught with potential adverse consequences". The order came on the pleas of BGP Products Operations GmbH, a subsidiary of Mylan Laboratories, Neon Laboratories and NGO All India Drug Action Network (AIDAN), which works to ensure access to essential medicines.

Oxytocin is also administered to pregnant women to "prevent and treat" postpartum haemorrhage (PPH). PPH accounts for about 35 per cent of all maternal deaths, as per the World Health Organisation (WHO). As per the notification, the state-run Karnataka Antibiotics and Pharmaceuticals Ltd (KAPL) was solely allowed by the Centre to make the drug to meet the country's needs.

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