Why India needs to strengthen its regulatory mechanisms to prevent the antibiotic misuse?

Published: October 20, 2018

Lack of robust regulatory regime has resulted in the manipulations by the manufacturers to satisfy their business agendas. This overuse and abuse of the antibiotics in India will result in long term ramifications.

Instances of abuse by the manufacturers

It was observed that the world’s largest veterinary drug-maker Zoetis was selling antibiotics as growth promoters to poultry farmers in India even though it had stopped the practice in the U.S. This was due to the fact that the U.S. banned the use of antibiotics as growth-promoters in early 2017 and India is yet to regulate antibiotic-use in poultry.

Why India needs to regulate the antibiotic misuse?

  • Legally, Zoetis hasn’t done anything illegal. But the antibiotic-resistance does not respect political boundaries. India together with getting affected by the antibiotic resistance will also contribute to the world burden of antibiotic resistance.
  • According to a study around 58,000 newborns die in India each year due to sepsis from resistant bacteria. There would be increase in these numbers if the resistance increases.
  • According to studies 416 of every 100,000 Indians die of infectious diseases each year. Antibiotic resistance will result in drugs being ineffective. India would be hit harder and would witness an increase in the infectious-disease mortality-rate.
  • India has classified important antibiotics under Schedule H1 of the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules 1945. They cannot be sold without prescriptions. But the antibiotics are available freely across the counters and state regulatory agencies are unable to regulate it.
  • India’s 2017 National Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance talks about restricting antibiotic use as growth promoters. But no progress has been made in this front.
  • India also needs to control the antibiotics levels in discharge from pharmaceutical firms into local lakes, rivers and sewers. Or else there would be an explosion in these resistance genes in waterbodies. India needs to introduce standards for antibiotics in waste water.

To effectively regulate and ensure that there is no misuse of antibiotics there is a need of an independent regulatory agency which can coordinate with the central and state government together with private firms.

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