Excessive use of antibiotics in India, over 47% unapproved: Study
Indians have been using antibiotics in excess with over 47% of formulations not permitted by the government drug regulator in 2019, a new study found. It also revealed that India used over 500 crore antibiotic tablets in 2019, with Azithromycin being the most used antibiotic molecule. The research was conducted to determine the need to monitor and control antibiotic sales and use.
Why does this story matter?
- India is the world's greatest user of antibiotics with a significant increase in annual daily dosage intake of unapproved formulations.
- Experts also blame antibiotic resistance on India's inadequate sanitation, cheap antibiotics, and weak healthcare institutions.
- Patients frequently do not finish their antibiotic treatment which is why it's anticipated that drug resistance would kill two million people in India by 2050.
What does the study say?
According to research published in the journal Lancet Regional Health Southeast Asia, unapproved formulations accounted for 47.1% of yearly specified daily dosage consumption in India. In other words, in 2019, India's population ingested 2,408 million specified doses of unapproved formulations. Antibiotics accounted for 72.7% of unapproved medicines, whereas combinations prohibited by the World Health Organization (WHO) accounted for 48.7% of fixed-dose combos, it added.
India lacks proper surveillance
"Even though India is the largest antibiotic consumer in absolute volume, the country does not have a formal system of antibiotic use surveillance to guide an antimicrobial stewardship program akin to those found in the United States (US) and Europe," researchers said in the paper. Notably, India's statistics were missing from the most recent worldwide surveillance report, which looked at antibiotic usage in 2015.
Azithromycin-500 most consumed antibiotic in India
Meanwhile, the survey discovered that the most used antibiotic was Azithromycin-500, followed by Cefixime 200 mg. Antibiotics are drugs that combat diseases caused by bacteria in humans and animals by either killing the germs or making it harder for them to grow and reproduce, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States.
Trigger for antidrug resistance
According to the report, improper antibiotic usage is a key contributor to antibiotic resistance in India. According to the study, unfettered over-the-counter sales of most antibiotics hinder drug availability and selling.
Challenge of antibiotic resistance
Antibiotic misuse has resulted in an increase in multi-drug resistance. As a result, treating some infections has grown more costly, if not impossible in some circumstances. Antibiotics are also used as growth promoters in the poultry and animal sectors. Because there are few new antibiotic classes being created, it is vital to make the best use of current antibiotics.