In a bid to promote ‘Responsible Use of Antibiotics’ -a nation-wide campaign against indiscriminate antibiotic use -medicine shops have been asked not deliver the drugs without a doctor’s prescription. Announcing this on Thursday, the Indian Pharmaceuticals’ Association said antibiotic resistance could only be countered through judicious use.
“Shop owners, doctors and pharmacists are responsible for the growing resistance to antibiotics.It has become a norm to recommend and sell the drugs without doctors’ prescription. This is a serious problem that has to be tackled now. We need a concerted effort to restrict this. Buyers seldom ask for cash memos for drugs. If they do, it will be easier to trace the shops that sell antibiotics without prescription and act against them,” said senior medic Chintamoni Ghosh.
Former director of IPGMER Pradip Mitra felt antibiotic resistance was one of the most critical health issues that medical community was facing. “Several potent antibiotics have stopped working over the last few years. Due to overuse, the bacteria that they are supposed to kill have mutated and turned resistant to them. It is a dangerous situation since antibiotics are one of the major weapons that are available to a doctor. We would be quite helpless without them,” said Mitra.
Indiscriminate use was a bigger cause of worry than the fact that no new antibiotics have been developed in the last two decades, according to Ghosh. “New antibiotics are needed but we can’t expect them every year. First, we need to make sure that the existing ones are effectively used. Unfortunately , we have failed to ensure that,” said Ghosh.
According to a WHO study , almost 50% of antibiotics recommended in India are unnecessary .Surveys also reveal that in nearly 65% of cases, antibiotics are prescribed for children at the request of parents.