Pharma Sector – Drug Pricing, NPPA, FDC, Generics, etc.

Oxytocin and issues over its commercial use


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Oxytocin

Mains level : Issues with use of Oxytocin

  • The final decision on whether the government can block private pharmaceutical companies from manufacturing and selling vital pregnancy drug oxytocin in India handed to the Supreme Court.


  • Oxytocin, also known as the ‘love hormone’, is a hormone secreted by the pituitary glands of mammals during sex, childbirth, lactation or social bonding.
  • It is secreted by pitutary glands in human body.
  • However, it can also be chemically manufactured and is sold by pharma companies for use during childbirth.
  • It is administered either as an injection or a nasal solution.

Why is it vital?

  • Oxytocin is a uterine stimulant hormone, prescribed for the initiation of uterine contractions and induction of labour in women, as well as stimulation of contractions during labour.
  • Oxytocin helps promote the release of breast milk.
  • It is also used to help abort the foetus in cases of incomplete abortion or miscarriage, and to control bleeding after childbirth.
  • It is also used widely in the dairy industry, agriculture and horticulture to boost production.

What is the case?

  • The health ministry in April 2018 notified a ban on private firms from manufacturing and selling oxytocin.
  • It wanted to restrict the responsibility of supplying the drug to a Karnataka-based public sector manufacturer to avoid its misuse in the veterinary field.
  • Following a case by drug makers like some private players the Delhi High Court in December 18 quashed the ban on various grounds, including that it lacked scientific basis.
  • The government has appealed the decision at the Supreme Court, arguing that the Karnataka PSUhas built up the capacity to manufacture and supply the required quantity of the drug here.
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