IVRI calls for ban on aceclofenac in cattle

IVRI demanded the ban of using the aceclofenac in cattle after a new research found that this drug metabolizes into diclofenac in water buffaloes as well as in cows.

What are key findings of the recent study on aceclofenac?

  • A research led by Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI) found that aceclofenac converted into diclofenac after it was injected into water buffaloes, similar to the results seen in domestic cattle.
  • This finding is significant, since vulture population in India rapidly deteriorated after ingesting of diclofenac via cattle carcasses.
  • As part of the study, researchers gave recommended dose of aceclofenac to nine domestic water buffaloes.
  • They collected blood samples at up to 48 hour intervals to analyse aceclofenac and its metabolite diclofenac in the blood plasma.
  • The blood test revealed that aceclofenac rapidly converted to diclofenac.
  • The diclofenac was found within 20 minutes after the aceclofenac was injected. The concentration of diclofenac reached the peak between 4 to 8 hours.
  • From this result, the study concluded that aceclofenac is a pro-drug to diclofenac and behaves similarly in domestic water buffalo as it does in domestic cattle.
  • This threatens vultures, who consume carcasses of these cattle for survival.

What are the current efforts to ban aceclofenac?

  • Aceclofenac is a veterinary painkiller used to treat cattle and dogs. Vulture Action Plan 2020-2025 recognizes aceclofenac as toxic. It urged the Drugs Controller General of India (DGCI) to ban its veterinary use along with other drugs like nimesulide and ketoprofen.
  • A 2018 petition had also demanded the drugs regulator to prohibit its use. This case is currently pending in the Delhi High Court.
  • Wildlife Institute of India, Bombay Natural History and Society (BNHS) and IVRI had written to the DGCI and the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare demanding the ban of this harmful drug.
  • Till date, no action has been taken by the Central Government in this regard.

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