An increase in resistance to antibiotics like third generation cephalosporins, fluoroquinolones and carbapenems is observed in the AMR surveillance network of ICMR, revealed Dr Harsh Vardhan, India’s health minister.
The key factors responsible for such rising antibiotic and antimicrobial resistance, as recognised by the government, include the high burden of bacterial infections, leading to higher use of antibiotics and the overuse and misuse of antibiotics in humans and animals, the minister said, while replying to a query whether the government has identified the key
factors responsible for the increase in resistance to antibiotics during the past three years.
Syndromic management of infectious diseases due to poor utilization and limited access to microbiology labs for culture and antimicrobial sensitivity testing; over-the-counter availability of antimicrobials; prescribing antimicrobials for viral infections such as colds and influenza; the use of antimicrobials for animals and fish as growth promoters; inadequate management of pharmaceutical waste; inadequate infection control, insanitary conditions and inappropriate food-handling are other factors contributing to the problem.
Dr Vardhan said the Drug Controller General of India had reported that in the year 2015, USA, France and Italy were leading high-income country (HIC) consumers of antibiotics while India, China and Pakistan were the leading low- and middle-income country (LMIC) consumers
OTC sale of antibiotics to face regulatory action
State drug licensing authorities can take action against any violations of
the conditions of license, including OTC sale of antibiotics against guidelines, said the minister.
Antibiotics are included in Schedule H of the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945 and are required to be sold in retail only under the prescription of a registered medical practitioner.
To further regulate over-the-counter availability, the Drugs & Cosmetics Rules, 1945 were amended in August 2013, incorporating a new Schedule H1 wherein 24 third & fourth generation antimicrobials were covered.
State Licensing Authorities are empowered to take action against any violations of the conditions of license including over the counter sale against guidelines, the minister stated in the parliament.