Mumbai: The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) has come down heavily on doctors and pharmacists saying that the reason or indications must be specified while prescribing antibiotics and sell antibiotics only on valid prescriptions.
According to a letter issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, “It is important that doctors mention the exact indication on their prescriptions while prescribing antimicrobials. It is an urgent appeal to all doctors in medical colleges to mandatorily mention the exact indication, reason, or justification while prescribing antimicrobial.” The letter states that misuse and overuse of antimicrobials is one of the main drivers in the emergence of drug resistant pathogens.
'Prudent antibiotic use is the need of the day'
“With few antibiotics in the research and development pipeline, prudent antibiotic use is the only option to delay the development of resistance. This makes it important that doctors at medical colleges set examples of judicious use of antimicrobials for the next generation of doctors who will face crises in the future,” said senior health official from the state health department.
While the pharmacists are also cautioned about the use of antimicrobials and sell antibiotics only through prescription.
While most doctors have favoured the move, some have questioned its practical implementation given the rush at government medical colleges and hospitals.
Dr Ravindra Kute, President, Indian Medical Association (IMA), Maharashtra, welcomed the move stating that only problem will be of implementing this rule as convincing patients is difficult.
“Almost 80% of the healthcare in this country is governed by private practitioners and one in three general practitioners prescribe antibiotics and they are not properly trained and they follow the prescription of the consultants. Unless and until there is a proven diagnosis of the diseases we should not use antibiotics,” he said.
Irrational use of antibiotics worries doctors in India
Senior doctors on the condition of anonymity said that these measures should have been implemented earlier as there is an irrational use of antibiotics across India and there will be a time when none of antibiotics would be effective.
Prasad Danave, Joint Secretary, Maharashtra State Chemists & Druggists Association (MSCDA) said, "We do not have any machinery to check whether or no the chemists are selling drugs without prescription since we are an association, however the FDA is constantly monitoring chemists and ensuring that there is no such irrational sale of over the counter medicines. At Least for the chemists the sale is recorded but for non-allopathic doctors there is no monitoring system. We do train our members to ensure that they sell medicines only as per prescription and only what is required."