EnvironmentPolicy Matters


Meera Bhardwaj:

Centre bans two veterinary drugs – Ketoprofen & Aceclofenac to Save Vultures in India.

To conserve the dwindling vulture population, the Drugs Technical Advisory Board (DTAB) of India has recommended banning the manufacture, sale, and distribution of two NSAIDs – Ketoprofen and Aceclofenac. These two drugs are as toxic as the banned diclofenac and kill vultures.

Earlier, the DTAB was apprised as a representation had been received requesting for ban on Ketoprofen and Aceclofenac for treatment of livestock animals to conserve vultures. The usage of Ketoprofen and Aceclofenac in cattle was found equally toxic as Diclofenac and can kill vultures, the representation stated.


Further, scientific studies revealed Aceclofenac was rapidly metabolised into Diclofenac while Ketoprofen is toxic to Gyps vultures. This matter was referred to the Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying (DAHD) for expert opinion.

After examining the matter in consultation with subject experts, it was recommended to impose a ban on Ketoprofen and Aceclofenac for treatment of livestock animals to conserve vulture.

In May, this year, DTAB deliberated on the matter and agreed to prohibit the manufacture, sale, and distribution of the drugs Ketoprofen and its formulations and Aceclofenac and its formulations for animal use.

Further, the Board also opined that the issue should be proactively examined and a list of all such drugs which affect the animal health or environment should be prepared for taking further appropriate action in the matter and accordingly recommended to constitute a subcommittee to examine the matter in detail and submit its report to the Board.


On behalf of the SAVE consortium of 33 organisations, Chris Bowden, Programme Manager of SAVE (Saving Asia’s Vultures from Extinction) said, “This is a huge and long-awaited step which will save many vultures from lingering death.  However, the main disappointment is that Nimesulide has not been included. The scientific evidence is overwhelming for all three drugs being highly toxic to vultures and included published material of the Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI).”

India has led the way with a veterinary diclofenac ban in 2006, but has been lagging behind other countries like Bangladesh since then, adds Bowden. “If this step can be quickly converted to drug bans, it will go a long way to put things back on track for saving the vultures across Asia, and set an important example more widely.”