Home Health Indians using OTC antibiotics at will, Azithromycin most abused: Lancet study

Indians using OTC antibiotics at will, Azithromycin most abused: Lancet study

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Although the per-capita private-sector consumption rate of antibiotics in India is relatively low compared to many countries, “India consumes a large volume of broad-spectrum antibiotics that should ideally be used sparingly”.

“This, together with significant share of fixed dose drug combinations (FDCs) from formulations outside NLEM and a large volume of antibiotics not approved by the central drug regulators, call for significant policy and regulatory reform,” the study noted.

India does not have a formal system to monitor antibiotic use.

“We found 39 studies, most of them using geographically limited hospital-based survey data, and a few national level studies using large volume proprietary sales and prescription data. We found one systematic review that was limited to dental practice,” said the Lancet study.

Using a standardised measure of defined daily doses, this study reports India’s most recent private-sector antibiotic consumption estimates.

“The study provides evidence for policymakers to strengthen the existing policy measures and institute new efforts to achieve the global targets of appropriate use of antibiotics,” said researchers.

Restricting the sale of unapproved formulations, expanding the national essential medicines list to include more antibiotics, strengthening antibiotic stewardship programs in private sector, expanding access to appropriate antibiotics through public health system, and tightening the legal regulation of over-the counter sales of antibiotics may help to address inappropriate use of antibiotics, they emphasised.

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