Landmark antibiotic stewardship success in India

BSAC is delighted to note that with effect from 1 March 2014 the sale of antibiotics over the counter will be legislated against in India.

The restricted sale of antibiotics was one of the main recommendations of the Chennai Declaration to check drug resistance which is emerging as a serious health issue in the country. The Chennai Declaration recommended urgent measures to formulate an effective national policy to control the rising trend of antimicrobial resistance, including a ban on over-the-counter sale of antibiotics, and changes in the medical education curriculum to include training on antibiotic usage and infection control.  The Indian government was quick to respond, including a new provision in the Drugs and Cosmetic Act 1940 that will seek to ensure antibiotics and anti-Tuberculosis drugs will not be sold over the counter from March 1 next year.

The law will see antibiotic packaging carrying a mandatory warning and will be sold by chemists only on production of a prescription.  Chemists will be obliged to retain copies of prescriptions and records for patients and prescribers.

The BSAC President, Dr Nicholas Brown, said “This is a move to be welcomed and applauded.  Successful implementation of this new legislation will see access to antibiotics restricted and offers an important example to others of the urgent need to protect our remaining arsenal of effective antibiotics.”

The move has been welcomed by UK government also in a statement from the Chief Medical Officer, Dame Sally Davies who said In a statement, U.K. Chief Medical Officer, Dame Sally Davies said: “Antibiotic resistance is a huge threat to the modern healthcare, which is why I have been advocating for comprehensive action across the world in a wide range of areas. We must look after our existing arsenal of medicine by making sure they are only prescribed when necessary. I hope this internationally-important decision becomes real action, prompting other countries to follow suit.”

Full details can be accessed here:  Article, The Hindu, September 27, 2013

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