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Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare banned sale of Diclofenac in multidose vial for human use

The move is aimed at protecting vultures from extinction.

Sep 19, 2015 11:04 IST
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Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on 18 September 2015 banned the sale of Diclofenac in multidose vial for human use. From now, it will be sold only in single-dose vial packaging.

It should be noted that the use of Diclofenac for treating cattle has been in place since 2006.

The decision was based on the recommendation of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and is aimed at protecting vultures from extinction.

Why restrictions on use of Diclofenac?

Diclofenac is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that is used to treat mild to moderate pain or signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis.

Apart from human use, the drug is also effective in treating cattle.

Though the drug is harmless to the cattle it is administered to, but is fatal for the vultures, who routinely feed on the carcass of dead cattle. Studies have shown that the drug causes kidney and liver failure in vultures.

Against this background, the Union Government banned the use of Diclofenac for cattle use in 2006.

However, it was found that the multi-dose vials available in the market for human use were widely misused for veterinary purpose.

Apart from the environmental point of view, vultures have cultural significance also.

The loss of vultures has had impact on the Indian Zoroastrian Parsi community that traditionally uses vultures to dispose of human corpses in Towers of Silence.  Due to the loss of vultures in the wild they are compelled to seek alternative methods of disposal.

Hence, to protect the Critically Endangered species, as per the IUCN Red List of threatened species, the government imposed the ban on its use.

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