India asks drug firms to help discourage off-prescription antibiotic sales

By Gareth Macdonald contact

- Last updated on GMT

iStock/SerengetiLion
iStock/SerengetiLion

Related tags: Antibiotic resistance, Hospital

Indian regulators want manufacturers to discourage pharmacists from selling antibiotics to patients without prescriptions as part of an effort to curb the spread of superbugs.

The Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) called on antibiotic firms to help stamp out illegal, non-prescription sales in an advisory​ last week, explaining the rational use of such products is critical to limiting the spread of resistance.

The agency said: “The Pharma industry should use their well-developed marketing network to discourage the pharmacists in selling of such drugs without prescription​.”

The CDSO also said it has been "taking steps to curb and control indiscriminate use of antibiotics."

It explained that: "Such indiscriminate use may be due to easy availability of prescription drugs, injudicious use in hospitals as well as uncontrolled use in agriculture, animal husbandry and fisheries​."

US resistance

In January​, the CDSCO reminded pharmacies they should only supply antibiotics to patients on prescription.

It cited reports that “antimicrobial resistance has resulted in the death of a patient in India​” but did not provide additional information. 

Thw warning came days after the US Centers for Disease Control and prevention (CDC) reported​ the detection of an untreatable superbug in samples from a woman who died after returning to the US from India.

According to the agency the deceased woman returned to the US and was admitted to hospital in Reno, Nevada in August after an extended visit to India during which she was hospitalized on several occasions after fracturing her right femur.

Subsequent testing of isolates from the deceased woman identified a strain of Klebsiella pneumoniae ​that is resistant to all antibiotics available in the US.

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