Call for policy to check drug abuse, overuse

Public health experts suggest ways to curb drug resistance

Published: Thursday 01 May 2014

imageAbhay Bang
Founder, Society for Education, Action and Research in Community Health (SEARCH),
Gadchiroli, Maharashtra

‘Antibiotics are still life savers’
Antibiotic resistance has to be seen from a community perspective, too. Most of the resistance has developed in the hospitals. Communities still benefit from antibiotics and among them, the sale of antibiotics should continue.

Once an antibiotic is developed, it is available only to a select few for the first few years because of its high cost owing to patent regime. By the time they become inexpensive and affordable to larger population, the pathogenic microbes become resistant to them. We need to have a policy which looks into the issue of antibiotic resistance rationally.

In our work in Maharashtra, we have seen antibiotics being life-savers for the mothers and new-born babies. ASHAs and ANMs should be trained in basic antibiotics administration. Hospitals are very far from the peripheral areas and many lives can be saved with judicious use of antibiotics on the way.

Gopal dabadeGopal Dabade
All India Drug Action Network (AIDAN),
Dharwad, Karnataka

‘Affordable drugs can curb resistance’
Due to fear of drug resistance, discovery of new antibiotics is lesser and lesser. If someone develops resistance to TB drugs, there is no way out. The main problem is that the government is not ready to streamline the use of antibiotics.

Most patients in India visit private practitioners who give haphazard prescriptions. The government needs to set standard procedures for treatment. Also, pharmaceutical companies are producing combination drugs. Some of them are such which should not be combines at all. This practice is leading to resistance development among the patients.

India is a poor country. Patients do not have the money to buy full course of treatment. Once they start to feel comfortable, they stop the course, leading to resistance. Accessibility of affordable medicines is a must to reduce incidence of antibiotic resistance.

fukudaKeiji Fukuda
Assistant director-general of health security,
World Health Organization

New approaches
Rate of resistance is high among communities as well as in hospitals. What is worse is that we are running out of medicines to be taken by mouth. Going to hospitals and taking injections has hassles.

WHO is thinking of new approaches to deal with drug resistance. In the past, antibiotics were treated as commercial goods. Now we are trying to change the approach to global public health good. We have to make development of novel drugs sustainable. For this, the private and the public have to work together. We have to develop innovative ways for this.


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