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India cracks down on overuse of antibiotics

Rising antimicrobial resistance sparks government action, urging doctors to provide clear justifications for antibiotic prescriptions

India cracks down on overuse of antibiotics
[Source photo: Chetan Jha/Press Insider]

Amid growing antimicrobial resistance in India, health authorities have urged doctors in medical colleges to explicitly state the justification for prescribing antibiotics.

 The government has also clamped down on over-the-counter antibiotic sales, issuing an appeal to pharmacists to dispense antibiotics only upon a valid prescription from a qualified doctor.

 “Antimicrobial resistance is one of the top global public health threats facing humanity,” Director-General of Health Services (DGHS), Dr. Atul Goel said in the nationwide directive.

Bacteria that develop the ability to resist the drugs designed to kill them, leads to infections that are harder to treat, which not only puts patients at risk but also poses a broader public health threat.

Modern medicine’s achievements hang in the balance because of the threat of antimicrobial resistance, Dr Goel said, adding, that “bacterial AMR was directly responsible for 1.27 million global deaths in 2019 and 4.95 million deaths were associated with drug resistant infections.”

The letter specifically points to Schedules H and H1 of the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945, which already classify antibiotics as prescription-only drugs.

The new directive emphasizes the strict enforcement of these regulations, closing any loopholes that may have allowed for uncontrolled access to these medications.

The World Health Organization (WHO) also published a study back in November that emphasized the importance of responsible antibiotic use and urged countries to adopt measures to ensure their proper prescription and dispensing.

The survey, conducted in the WHO European Region, found that this threat disproportionately impacts low- and middle-income countries, widening global health inequities.

WHO also warned that the misuse of antibiotics is fueling the rise of resistant bacteria, potentially claiming 10 million lives worldwide by 2050.


Shireen Khan is a Senior Correspondent at Press Insider. She covers lifestyle, culture, and health. More

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