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India witnessed the highest increase in antibiotic consumption among Low and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs) between 2000 and 2015, a study has said.


India witnessed the highest increase in antibiotic consumption among Low and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs) between 2000 and 2015, a study has said. Following which, doctors and experts have warned that with the prolonged use of antibiotics, many patients have become anti-antibiotic that even the primary diseases have become difficult to treat and transforming into fatal diseases. If such issues continue to progress, no antibiotics will be left even for the most simple infections by 2030, they said.

The new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) said India, saw the highest increase – 103 per cent in antibiotic consumption followed by China and Pakistan between 2000 and 2015, reflecting on increasing access to antibiotics in both the public and private sectors and an increase in economic growth. Antibiotic consumption was defined in Daily Defined Doses (DDD). It said in 2015, the leading High Income Countries (HIC) consumers of antibiotics were the United States, France, and Italy, while the leading LMIC consumers were India, China, and Pakistan. Whereas antibiotic consumption in the three leading HICs marginally increased, the highest-consuming LMICs saw large increases.

“Between 2000 and 2015, antibiotic consumption increased from 3.2 to 6.5 billion Daily Defined Doses (DDDs) (103 per cent) in India, from 2.3 to 4.2 billion DDDs (79 per cent) in China, and from 0.8 to 1.3 billion DDDs (65 per cent) in Pakistan,” it said. Researchers from the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy (CDDEP), Princeton University, ETH Zurich and the University of Antwerp conducted the study. In 2012, India toppled the United States in antibiotic consumption rate for oxazolidinones (newer and last-resort antibiotic class eg. Linezolid) to become the highest consumer of the drug class, it said. “Efforts to improve water and sanitation such as Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and Open Defecation Free cities together with introduction of new vaccines which help prevent infections are steps towards decreasing antibiotic consumption,” it said.

Reacting to the study, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) said most of the people end up in inappropriate choice, improper usage (either less than the prescribed dosage or abuse) along with inadequate duration. “It is one such drug which due to prolonged usage or abuse will result in widespread drug resistance which can result in antibiotic failure which is true among the Indian population,” IMA’s Secretary General R N Tandon said. The IMA said it is necessary to consult a doctor before taking the dosage of antibiotics as not always there is a chance that a fever is attributed to infections.

It said hospitals have a vital role to play in maintaining the public health. Maintaining the permitted stock and promoting the appropriate usage of antibiotics will not only prevent antibiotic resistance but also preserve a wide variety of antibiotics even for the life- threatening complications, the study said.

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