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DANGER OF ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANCE

P A FrancisWednesday, October 18, 2017, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

According to a recent analysis made by the researchers at Queen Mary University of London and Newcastle University, the sales of antibiotics requiring stringent control is rising much faster than ever in India. The analysis said that total sales of antibiotics are increasing and the antibiotics requiring most control and regulation are increasing at faster rate. One of the main reasons for these increases is the uncontrolled prescriptions and sales of fixed dose combinations in the country. Many of these formulations are not approved by the Drug Controller General of India and court disputes between the drug companies and the DCGI over marketing of harmful FDCs are still on. India is a major drug producer in the world today with perhaps highest sales of antibiotics globally and therefore accounting for highest levels of antimicrobial resistance, the researchers said. Contributing factors for this state of affairs in India are failure of India’s drug regulatory system, the sale of antibiotics without prescription and the availability of irrational FDCs. The DCGI banned the marketing of 344 irrational and harmful FDCs in March, 2016 but the Delhi High Court stayed the DCGI ban order on March 14 after hearing appeals from several large and small pharmaceutical companies. These harmful FDCs are still in the market. The researchers also found that antibiotic sales in India between 2007 and 2012, increased by 26 per cent, with the increase mainly due to the growth in sales of FDCs which rose by 38 per cent.

The report of these London researchers is yet another alert to Indian drug authorities about this growing danger of drug resistance. Antibiotic resistance has been posing a major threat to public health both in developed and developing countries necessitating immediate action to stop the world heading towards a pre-antibiotic era which can ultimately reverse all achievements made in prevention and control of communicable diseases. The World Health Organisation already cautioned the member nations in 2015 against the indiscriminate use of antibiotics for treating various ailments as it is leading to resistance to medicines and persistence of infections. Perhaps among the developing countries, India has highest burden of drug resistant ailments with the outbreak of multi-drug resistant TB, malaria and hospital acquired infections in recent years. Common infections and minor injuries which have been treatable for decades may once again kill millions of people if this dangerous trend is not reversed. The growing antibiotic resistance has resulted from injudicious and rampant use of antibiotics by prescribers, patients not completing full treatment courses, over-use of antibiotics in livestock and fish farming and poor control of infections in healthcare settings. As the global pharmaceutical companies are not able to find any new molecules that can fight the drug resistant ailments, the challenge for India and other affected countries is to strengthen monitoring of antibiotic use, find real causes of antibiotic resistance, improve infection control in hospitals and promote appropriate use of medicines.

 
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