Maharashtra all set to formulate antibiotic policy

India is said to be the world's largest consumer of antibiotics and prescribing antibiotics for cough and cold has been a common practise among doctors


Maharashtra is all set to follow Kerala and get an antibiotic policy in place to combat rising antibiotic resistance cases. The state government has set up a six member committee which will be headed by Dr Sanjay Oak, Vice-Chancellor of DY Patil University and former Dean of KEM. The committee also includes Dr Vasant Nagvekar, infectious disease expert of Global hospital, Dr Sadiq Patel, Dr Abhay Chowdhary, head, department of microbiology of JJ Hospital.

Earlier this year, in February, Union health ministry had released ‘National antibiotics guidelines’.

Dr Khusrav Bajan, intensivist from PD Hinduja Hospital said that antibiotic policy in the state was long overdue. “We are glad that our government is finally reacting to the growing incidence of antibiotic resistance cases. It took 30 years for scientists to discover a new antibiotic. Arbitrary usage of antibiotics needs to be stopped immediately.”

He said community acquired pneumonia, urinary tract infections and typhoid are the three diseases whose treatment is getting affected the most because antibiotic resistance incidence.

India is said to be the world’s largest consumer of antibiotics and prescribing antibiotics for cough and cold has been a common practise among doctors. “This is one of the many reasons that have contributed to rising antibiotics resistance India,” said Bajan.

Health experts also say that over-the-counter sale of antibiotics too have added to rise in antibiotic resistance. “We are facing biggest medical crisis because of growing antibiotic resistance. The unscrupulous use of antibiotics has led to a situation where good and cheap antibiotics like ciprofoxcillin, septran, ampicillin, amoxicillin, roxythromycin and chloramphenicol are now useless. In most cases as the bacteriae have developed resistance to these drugs,” said Dr Shrirang Bichu, nephrologist at Bombay hospital. He added that many higher antibiotics like cefuroxime, ceftriaxone, pipracillin and cefoperazone too are becoming useless in most cases.

“It is good that the government has decided to have a policy in place. If nothing is done to control this trend a time will soon come when we will be left with no effective antibiotic. The other major problem is that the higher antibiotics are very costly and most patients cannot afford such antibiotics,” said Dr Bichu.

Dr Ami Varaiya, microbiologist, Hinduja Healthcare said that absence of good sanitation in community and hospitals not been able to give due importance of infection control are other contributing factors for rise in antibiotic resistance in the society. “A person developing antibiotic resistance has repercussion for the entire society as s/he can spread the resistant bug to others. Therefore, every stakeholder needs to act responsible if we have to control antibiotic resistance. Whether it is a farmer, or someone dealing with livestock, or doctor etc, everyone is using antibiotics without thinking about the consequences,” said Varaiya.

Salient features of Kerala antibiotic policy

  • Preparing antibiotic sensitivity patterns of community acquired and hospital acquired infection- According to doctors, every hospital or community will see same kind of infection. Knowing the sensitivity pattern will help the doctor prescribe right.
  • Regulating antibiotics: Every hospital should have a regulatory mechanism for prescribing antibiotics. This is to avoid misuse or overuse in the hospital. Ensuring the duration of the antibiotics
  • Auditing all the patients who died of infection to understand type of infection and antibiotics used in the treatment