Supreme Court restores ban on animal hormone injection

Apex court upholds 2015 decision by DRAP

Asma Ghani January 07, 2018

ISLAMABAD: An injection containing hormones which induced cows to produce more milk has been banned across the country after the Supreme Court vacated a stay granted by a lower court.

Registration of the Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (RBST) hormone, which is injected into animals for enhancing their milk production, was cancelled by the registration board of the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (Drap), effectively disallowing its use in the country.

However, its cancellation by the apex drug regulator had been challenged in the Sindh High Court (SHC). The court had stayed the cancellation and allowed the use of the hormones in the interim.

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However, the stay was challenged in the apex court. On Saturday, the Supreme Court ordered to vacate the stay issued by the SHC.

Representatives from Drap and the Health Ministry confirmed that the SC had vacated the stay order granted by the SHC and had upheld the decision taken by Drap’s registration board on cancelling the registration of RBST injections.

“The injections, while still registered in some countries, have been banned by most due to the side effects it has on animals [injected with the hormone] and humans too,” said Dr Obaidullah, the director of Drap’s registration board.

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“The hormone causes cancer in the reproductive organs of the cows which affects the milk and resultantly can cause infections in humans too,” he warned.

The RBST is a synthetic recombinant Bovine Somatotropin hormone. It had been registered in Pakistan in 1998, based on its 1993 registration by the United States Food and Drug Authority similar registration in other countries.

The use of the injection is barred in Europe and some other countries on the back of concerns that it impacts the health of cows injected with the hormone and the possible impact on those consuming milk and meat from such animals.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 7th, 2018.


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