HC seeks replies from state, centre on oxytocin in milk, vegetables

North Gazette News/Shimla
Himachal High Court on Monday directed the Director (Food & Civil Supplies), Himachal Pradesh, Drug Controller, Drug Controller General of India, Health Secretary, Government of India and the Director Health Safety & Regulations, HP to submit their replies on the issue of large scale use of harmful oxytocin vaccine in milk, fruits and vegetables in state.

A Division Bench comprising the Chief Justice Mansoor Ahmad Mir and Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan passed these orders on a petition taken up suo moto by the Court as Public Interest Litigation on the basis of a news report.

In the reply submitted before the Court, the state government submitted that Injection Oxytocin is drug covered under Schedule H of the Drugs & Cosmetics Act and sold strictly on prescription of Registered Medical Practitioner only.

There is proper check on the sale of injection and regular inspections of chemists and drug manufacturers are conducted through regulatory mechanisms. The government submitted that there are 14 manufacturers of the Injection in Himachal Pradesh, which manufacture it for human use only and not for veterinary use and no contravention with respect to the manufacture, sale and distribution of Oxytocin injection had been reported.

It was alleged in the newspaper report that large scale use of oxytocin vaccine is on rise in Himachal Pradesh in milk, vegetables, fruits and non-vegetarian products, which is a source of a number of harmful side effects.

The vaccine is used to increase the milk production of milch cattle, enlarging the size of vegetables and fruits and to improve its colour and shine.

It can have a wide range of side effects including brain damage, blood cancer, low blood pressure, silent heart attack, cardiac arithemia, pelvic hematoma and impaired uterine blood flow.

The news item had also reported that there is large scale production of oxytocin in the pharma hub of Himachal in Baddi, Barotiwala and Nalagarh. The report also apprehended its illegal production in the Industrial areas of District Sirmour also.

The Court appointed Satyen Vaidya, Advocate as Amicus Curiae in the case and posted the matter for December 22.