Antibiotic Resistance in India: Latest Developments

There has been an increase in the antibiotic resistance in the past few years. There are many publications from various institutions in India showing high level of resistance to antibiotics.

Government of India has launched the ‘National Programme on Containment of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)’ under the 12th Five Year Plan under which a surveillance lab network of ten labs has been established to monitor trends of AMR in the country.

The trends from AMR data gathered in the year 2015 from these tertiary care centres show high resistance to commonly used antibiotics for treatment of bacterial infections.

Through various studies conducted in various institutions in India, it is a known fact that over/ mis-use of antimicrobial drugs are responsible for rising antimicrobial resistance in human, animal and food sectors.

Other factors are inadequate sanitation and infection control practices in health care settings and also in the community.

The Schedule H1 notification of the Government of India on Aug 30, 2013, as an amendment to the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules of 1945, came into force from Mar 1, 2014 to control the misuse of 24 antibiotics (falling under third and fourth generation) through over-the-counter (OTC) dispensing of antibiotics in India.

The packaging of these drugs will have mandatory Schedule H1 warning printed on the label in a box with red border and the Rx symbol in red.

They can be sold by pharmaceutical chemists only on production of a valid prescription. Government drug inspectors can conduct surprise checks on these registers.