Experts have welcomed the ban imposed by the Centre on the manufacture, sale, and distribution of ketoprofen and aceclofenac.
The Centre’s Ban on Ketoprofen and Aceclofenac
Under Section 26A of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, the Centre has implemented a ban on the manufacture, sale, and distribution of ketoprofen and aceclofenac. These drugs, which are commonly used to alleviate pain and inflammation, have also been employed in veterinary medicine.
The Significance for Vulture Conservation
The ban on ketoprofen and aceclofenac is primarily aimed at conserving vulture populations, which have been severely impacted by the use of another NSAID called diclofenac. The use of diclofenac in veterinary medicine led to a catastrophic decline in vulture numbers, particularly affecting three main species: Oriental white-backed vultures, long-billed vultures, and slender-billed vultures.
The Tragic Impact of Diclofenac on Vultures
In the 1990s, India experienced a crash in vulture populations due to the use of diclofenac in treating cattle. Vultures, who feed on treated cattle carcasses, suffered painful deaths, leading to a staggering 97% decline in their population until 2004.
Vulture Recovery Plan
In 2004, a Vulture Recovery Plan was put into action, which involved banning the veterinary use of diclofenac, finding suitable substitutes for the drug, and setting up vulture conservation breeding centers. This plan was later incorporated into the Action Plan for Vulture Conservation in 2006. copyright©iasexpress.net
The Ban on Diclofenac and the Role of Meloxicam
In 2006, diclofenac’s veterinary use was banned and gazetted in 2008. In its place, experts recommended the use of another drug called meloxicam, which was considered safer for vultures. Additionally, the vial size of diclofenac for human use was restricted to minimize its availability for veterinary purposes.
Nimesulide – Another Known Toxic Drug
Apart from diclofenac, nimesulide is another drug known for its toxicity to vultures. While it has not been included in the recent ban, its potential impact on vulture populations remains a concern.
How Ketoprofen and Aceclofenac Affect Vultures
The ban on ketoprofen and aceclofenac stems from their conversion to diclofenac in animals’ bodies. Diclofenac, as mentioned earlier, has been found to have prolonged presence in the vultures’ bodies, leading to severe toxicity and death.
In conclusion, the ban on ketoprofen and aceclofenac is a crucial step towards vulture conservation. By eliminating these drugs, which can harm vultures when consumed through contaminated carcasses, India takes significant action to protect these vital scavengers in its ecosystem. The decision highlights the importance of safeguarding wildlife and promoting safer alternatives to protect the delicate balance of nature.