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Antibiotics panel's recommendations yet to be followed

Monday October 03, 2011 06:51:50 PM, IANS

New Delhi: An expert panel's recommendations that will lay down the national policy on antibiotics are yet to be notified by the health ministry, Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said here Monday.

"Some of the recommendations of the panel include reducing the need for antibiotics, having a comprehensive surveillance on drug sale, increase the number of research institutions on drug resistance, and even have colour coding on third generation drugs," Azad said at the inaugural session here of the 1st Global Forum on bacterial infections.

"But we are yet to notify the recommendations given by the panel," he admitted.

According to experts, it is lobbying by interested parties such as pharmaceutical companies and animal husbandry firms that is delaying the implementation.

In the absence of an antibiotic resistance monitoring system in the country, the 13-member panel's recommendations were expected to curb the unrestricted sale of antibiotics even without a proper medical prescription.

Continuous drug use makes the disease-causing bacteria resistant to the drugs, a condition known as anti-microbial resistance.

"There is a large section that lives on self-prescription of antibiotic drugs. A major section of the population is misinformed that increased antibiotic usage will provide quick relief from the disease," said Ramanan Laxminarayan, vice president (research and policy), Public Health Foundation of India.

"The purpose of any panel or recommendation should be to target this unrequited usage of drugs, and yet maintain the purpose of antibiotics in health care system," Laxminarayan noted.

According to a study by the Indian Journal of Medical Research (IJMR) in August 2011, sale of antibiotic units increased by around 40 percent between the year 2005 and 2009.






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