Can overuse and the availability of antibiotics without doctor's prescription, the contributors to the emergence of drug-resistant diseases in India? What are the available mechanisms for monitoring and control? Critically discuss the various issues involved.
In India, a lot of medicines are available over the counter and most medications can be procured without producing a doctor’s prescription. Also, self-medication by persons unaware of medical intricacies is widely prevalent in India. Both these factors have contributed to the emergence of drug-resistant diseases in India because it allows persons to freely take medication without a doctor’s supervision. Medicines have to be taken for the full course as prescribed by the doctor, but at times people stop taking medication once the external symptoms disappear. If medicines aren’t taken for the complete duration, they fail to completely kill the bacteria, thus allowing them to persist. Also, frequent usage of medicines due to excessive self-medication helps the bacterial develop immunity to the medication. Thus, next time when the person uses the same medication, it proves ineffective because the frequent usage has made the bacteria resistant to the drug.
Strict enforcement of policies that prohibit selling of medicines without prescription, and reduction of number of medicines that are freely available over the counter will reduce the abuse of antibiotics. Creating awareness regarding the repercussions of excessive usage of antibiotics is the need of the hour. The government should conduct aggressive advertisement campaigns enlightening the public about the issue, and also rope in doctors who can disburse pamphlets explaining the adverse effects to all their patients.