Dr KK Aggarwal
As per the minutes of the 56th Meeting of Drugs Consultative Committee held on 1st June, 2019 at New Delhi, agenda 16 (3) the health ministry may ban Aceclofenac for veterinary use.
“ 3. Prohibition of Aceclofenac for veterinary use for saving vultures DCC
Dr. Vibhu Parkash, Principal Scientist & Deputy Director, BNHS, Vulture Conservation Breeding Centre, B-3, Forest Complex, Pinjore, Panchkula, Haryana has submitted a research note on ‘Metabolism of Aceclofenac in cattle to Vulture-killing Diclofenac’.
Government of India has prohibited ‘Diclofenac and its formulations for animal use’ vide notification No. GSR 499 (E) dated 04th July, 17 2008 and permitted ‘Diclofenac injection for human use shall be in single unit dose pack only’ vide notification No. GSR 558(E) dated 17th July, 2015.
In view of this, Vulture Conservation Breeding Centre has requested the appropriate action in this matter for prohibition of Aceclofenac for veterinary use for saving vultures.”
According to wildlife veterinarians, the key cause of vulture deaths was food poisoning. The birds were feeding on dead animals that had been administered diclofenac as painkiller. When Gyps species fed on these carcasses they faced acute renal failure and died.
Vultures are among the top predators and critical to maintaining ecological balance in nature. Decline in their population got the bird enlisted in the critically endangered category in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Alarmed by this, in 2006 the governments of India, Pakistan and Nepal ordered a ban on the production and sale of diclofenac.
The rate of decline has slowed down—from 40 per cent to 18 per cent. The number of oriental white-backed vulture (Gyps bengalensis) had dropped drastically by 99.9 per cent before the ban was imposed.
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