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'Ban use of painkiller Diclofenac on animals'

Posted on Aug 20 2014 | IANS

Bhubaneswar, Aug 20 : Indian authorities have tightened norms on the sale of pain killer drug 'Diclofenac' following a directive by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), to prevent its misuse on animals, a petitioner said Wednesday.

In response to a petition filed by Odisha-based rights activist Akhand in May last year, the National Human rights Commission had sought a report from the union ministry of health and family welfare.

The ministry informed the commission that the government has made it mandatory that Diclofenac for human use shall be packed in single unit dose pack only, Akhand told IANS.

Diclofenac is used as painkiller for animals too.

"The government has prohibited the manufacture, sale and distribution of the drug and its formulation for animal use," Shailendra Kumar, Director (Drugs) in the Ministry of Health informed the commission in a letter a copy of which is in possession of IANS.

"In order to further restrict the illegal use of diclofenac injection in animals, the matter was considered by Drugs Technical Advisory Board (DTAB), a statutory body of the Central Government," Kumar stated in the letter.

The normal dose of the drug in animals is about 11 ml for three or four days while for humans it is only 3 ml per dose, the letter said.

Though painkiller drug Diclofenac has been banned for use on animals, it is readily available with the chemists and private drug stores across the country because it used to treat humans also, Akhand had in his petition to the NHRC.

Citing different reports, the activist had also blamed the misuse of drugs as one of the cause of decline in vulture population. "Mass killing of vultures creates environment imbalance that affect human life," he said.

"As carcasses, once eaten by vultures, now rot in village fields, drinking water has become seriously contaminated, endangering human life," he said.

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