Scientists suggest cap on yearly antibiotic use

They also propose phasing-out use of antimicrobial growth romoters in animals with a deadline of five years

By Mouna Nagaraju
Published: Friday 26 August 2016

Scientist suggest that countries should not consume more than 8.54 defined daily doses of antibiotics per capita per year (Credit: iStock)

With the high-level meeting on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) few weeks away, a group of scientists has set targets for antibiotic consumption in order to reduce drug resistant infections. They propose that no country should consume more than the current median global level of antibiotics—8.54 defined daily doses per capita per year.

The researchers, which include Ramanan Laxminarayan of the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy and Martin Blaser of the New York University School of Medicine, propose global phasing-out of the use of antimicrobial growth promoters with a deadline of five years. This, along with other bio-security measures could cost agricultural sectors more. But the increased cost will be balanced by lower risks of infections and cost of antibiotics. The researchers add that national-level restrictions on antibiotic effluents from agricultural operations are an urgent need.

The scientists claim that the current agreement among the World Health Organization (WHO), Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and the World Organization for Animal Heath (OIE) is unlikely of being sustainable. They propose a new high level coordinating mechanism (HLCM) under the UN Secretary General. One of the reasons being the access to effective antibiotics is beyond the remit of WHO, as it involves animal health and environment.

The researchers propose that the HLCM should be multi-stakeholder involving WHO, FAO, OIE, World Bank, relevant UN agencies, other international organisations, among others and report to the UN Secretary General. The HLCM should coordinate support for development, implementation and monitoring of national plans and relevant actions.

In India, the Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries (DADF) issued an advisory in December 2014 to all state animal husbandry departments to not use antibiotics as growth promoters in India. But antibiotics are used rampantly for non-therapeutic purposes such as growth-promotion and disease prevention in food producing animals. There are no standards for wastes generated during food-animal production in the country.


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