Focused policy on antibiotic use soon: Health minister

Friday, November 19, 2010

NEW DELHI - The government is drafting a focused policy on use of antibiotics and the task force preparing the policy document will come up with its report by the month end, Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad Friday said.

In a written reply to the Lok Sabha, the health minister said the policy is being drafted to counter misuse of antibiotics.

Anti-biotic resistance is a universal evolutionary phenomenon… due to prolonged use of anti-biotics, bacteria may start various defensive mechanism like mutation, conjugation, transduction or transformation, etc. so that it can counter the assault of anti-biotics, resulting in anti-biotic resistance, Azad said.

Irrational use of anti-biotic and over-prescription of anti-biotics are also other contributing factors for anti-biotic resistance, the minister said. The task force is looking at all aspects that may lead to antibiotic over use or misuse, he added.

According to the minister, the task force will review the current situation regarding manufacture, use and misuse of anti-biotics in the country.

It will also recommend the design for a National Surveillance System for anti-biotic resistance, initiate studies documenting prescription patterns and establish a monitoring system for it, and enforce and enhance regulatory provisions for use of anti-biotics.

(The task force will) recommend specific interventions such as rational use of anti-biotics and anti-biotics policies in hospitals which can be implemented as early as possible, Azad added.

According to ministry sources, the new policy which will formulate an outline for prescription, sale and use of antibiotics is likely to be launched on pilot basis in three Delhi hospitals - Lady Hardinge Medical College, Safdarjung Hospital and Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital.

The task force includes experts from the National Institute of Communicable Diseases, AIIMS, Indraprastha Apollo and others under the chairmanship of Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) R.K. Srivastava.

The policy, once prepared by the health ministry, will be approved by the government and parliament for creation of a separate schedule HX under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act after which these antibiotics will be sold only by medical prescription.

Government sources say the step was taken in the wake of the super bug controversy, the NDM-1 which is said to be of Indian origin and is resistant to the strongest antibiotics.

The policy will also monitor antibiotic use in animals, as it has been found that antibiotic content in meat affects humans.

Filed under: Antibiotics, Medicine

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