Citing the gross misuse of oxytocin, the Union government has banned imports of the hormone oxytocin.
The immediate ban comes after the severe misuse has been noted in the livestock industry, where activists say it causes hormonal imbalances and shortens the lives of animals. The government has also asked customs officials to step up vigilance against smuggling of oxytocin into the country.
Called as ‘love hormone’, oxytocin is released naturally in human bonding activities such as boosting sex, childbirth and breastfeeding. The government has decided to rely on domestic production to satisfy requirements of the hormone. The drug’s abuse in animals shortens their lives and makes them barren sooner, India’s Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi has said.
India halted retail sales of the prescription-only drug in 2014, but regulators have struggled to curb illegal sales, and the volume of imports is unclear.
Friday’s ban follows an order by the drugs regulator last year for officials to clamp down on factories that produce the hormone in bulk despite not meeting manufacturing standards.
A panel of top drug experts had recommended an import ban in February, the minutes of their meeting, posted on the drug regulator’s website, show.
It also recommended that sale be limited to registered government hospitals and clinics, a bar code system used on all forms of the drug to ensure tracking and prevent abuse.