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,"
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
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.