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Government crackdown on misuse of antibiotics

Reports that an American woman, who visited India two years ago, died after being infected by a drug-resistant superbug are making the Indian authorities sit up.

Since the case has been linked to developing resistance to all antibiotics, the Centre is in talks with state governments to go tough on any misuse of these drugs.

Drugs Controller General G N Singh said an advisory is being issued to all state drug controllers, asking them to crack the whip on the arbitrary sale of antibiotics.

The state controllers would help ensure that no chemist in India sells antibiotics without a valid prescription, said Singh.

According to Singh, even the least powerful antibiotics can prove fatal if more than the prescribed dosage is taken.

Misuse of antibiotics can also lead to antimicrobial resistance, he said, while explaining why preventing people from taking unnecessary doses of antibiotics is essential.

Even though antibiotics are not supposed to be sold without a prescription, chemists have been found flouting this norm. The effort is to stop the practice.

Bejon Misra from the Partnership for Safe Medicine India is of the opinion that regulation per se will not help.

“State regulators have to be proactive in making sure that these norms are adhered to by conducting periodic inspections,” says Misra.

A representative with a state regulator pointed out that a chemist’s licence can be suspended if s/he is caught selling without a prescription.

The government needs to begin an audit of prescriptions to ensure that doctors do not prescribe antibiotics unnecessarily, according to Misra.

As for sending advisories to state regulators, the step is being seen as “corrective treatment” by some like Anajan Bose, secretary general, Nathealth.

In effect, it should ensure that only qualified and competent doctors recommend antibiotics.

In the case of the woman who died after the super bug infection, she had travelled to India and developed a bone infection after breaking her femur and had been subsequently hospitalised in India a number of times over a two-year period.
(Report : Veena Mani/rediffnews)
(Source: Business Standard)

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