Gynaecologists and obstetricians across the country can now exhale in relief: the Drug Technical Advisory Board (DTAB) has recommended to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare that the ban on the retail sale of the life-saving drug, oxytocin, may be lifted.
The DTAB recommendation has brought immense relief to gynaecologists and obstetricians, who had said that the ban on retail sale of the drug could affect its availability in hospitals and clinics in rural areas, where more women were likely to bleed to death post-partum in labour rooms.
“It is certainly a welcome decision. But the fact that a single PSU, KAPL, which has never manufactured oxytocin, continues to hold the monopoly in the manufacture, distribution and sale of an essential drug like this, raises important questions. Also, nothing has been said about the pricing of oxytocin by KAPL — at Rs. 17.78 (including GST) per five IU vial — when several private pharma firms were earlier supplying it for as low as Rs. 4.82. Several concerns remain still,” a senior gynaecologist here said.