The Delhi High Court on Friday set aside the Centre’s decision to ban the production and sale of oxytocin by private companies. A bench of Justices S Ravindra Bhat and AK Chawla called the decision arbitrary and unreasonable and said it was without scientific basis, PTI reported.

In April, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had passed an order prohibiting the import of the drug, and restricting its manufacture for domestic use. Only one public sector company in Karnataka was allowed to manufacture the drug.

On August 31, the Delhi High Court had put the restrictions on hold for a month, and then extended the stay to December 15.

The Centre had imposed the restrictions after the Himachal Pradesh High Court in 2016 observed that the drug was being misused in the dairy industry. The order left many gynaecologists worried as oxytocin, which is a hormone naturally produced in the human body, is usually administered to women during childbirth in the third stage of labour to prevent excessive bleeding.

The life-saving drug has been listed as an essential medicine by the World Health Organisation and is also on India’s National List of Essential Medicines.