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Nature Examines Efforts To Combat Antibiotic Resistance In India

Nature examines efforts to combat antibiotic resistance in India, writing, “Antibiotic resistance is a problem worldwide, but is particularly worrying in India, where hospital standards are inconsistent and antibiotics are readily available over the counter at pharmacies.” The magazine highlights “India’s first joint medical-society meeting on antibiotic resistance, held on 24 August in Chennai,” noting, “The symposium is part of an ongoing campaign by Indian clinicians for a national policy to curb misuse of these vital drugs.” It continues, “Last week, physicians moved a step closer to their goal when India’s drug regulators announced a plan that would put tight restrictions on the sale of antibiotics.”

“Under the new regulations, carbapenems and other antibiotics with declining efficacy would be treated as a special category of prescription drugs,” the magazine notes, adding, “They would carry prominent red labels, and surprise inspections by the regulator would check whether pharmacies were selling them over the counter.” According to Nature, “Carbapenems and many other antibiotics are already on a list of 536 drugs in India that require a prescription,” but “studies have shown that such drugs are easy to purchase at retail pharmacies without a physician’s signature.” The magazine adds, “The health ministry did not respond to Nature’s questions about the latest recommendation from India’s drug regulator, but a health ministry representative told the Times of India that the office did intend to approve the antibiotic restrictions, possibly as early as this week” (Westly, 9/11).

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