NEW DELHI: The Union health ministry is set to roll out prescription audits as part of a multi-pronged strategy against anti-microbial resistance (AMR) or antibiotic resistance.
Anti-microbial resistance threatens the effective prevention and treatment of an ever-increasing range of infectious diseases like tuberculosis, malaria, urinary tract infection (UTI) and even HIV. The government will ask hospitals and pharmacists to upload all the prescriptions issued and received by them for evaluation by a central agency.
This will help the government gather much needed data on AMR. The health ministry, along with the World Health Organisation (WHO), has also worked out a national action plan to combat antibiotic resistance.
The plan, which is expected to be launched on February 22, will seek participation from around nine ministries, including environment, animal husbandry, agriculture and the department of pharmaceuticals.
“It would be an understanding between various ministries that we jointly strategise to contain AMR and all our policies should be in one direction so that collectively we are able to address this issue. We will have a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with all ministries together, and policies will be directed towards the action plan,” Union health minister J P Nadda said.
Health secretary C K Mishra said the problem of AMR was not limited to health or healthcare institutions alone. “There are several other factors that contribute to developing antibiotic resistance. A multi-sectoral approach will help us tap the problem in totality,” Mishra said.
While irrational use and unnecessary prescription of antibiotics are considered a major cause of AMR, other reasons include the use of antibiotics in animals, and environmental factors. Though antibiotic resistance is a global public health threat, misuse of antibiotics is rampant in India. The government has already initiated several steps to contain antibiotic resistance. For instance, the campaign — ‘Medicines with the Red Line’, which involves packs of certain medicines carrying a ‘red line’ to differentiate them from other drugs. and discouraging unnecessary prescription.