53% Indians take antibiotics without prescription

A new study has revealed that 53 per cent Indians take antibiotics without a doctor`s prescription.

New Delhi: Raising concerns over drug resistance, a new study has revealed that 53 per cent Indians take antibiotics without a doctor`s prescription and up to 48 per cent want to change their physician if not prescribed antibiotics for something as simple as a common cold.
A whopping 63 per cent, however, would not use saved antibiotics for family members later, according to a study conducted by the World Health Organisation.

According to the study, which was conducted separately on citizens and physicians, 52 per cent doctors would not prescribe antibiotics for any child with fever and 52 per cent feel that antibiotics should not be discontinued when a person starts feeling better.

Doctors in India in fact prescribe antibiotics for non-specific fever in 16 per cent of cases, cough -- 17 per cent cases, diarrhoea -- 18 per cent and ear discharge 48 per cent cases.

The WHO called for intensifying global commitment towards safeguarding antibiotics for future generations. "We depend on antibiotics and other antimicrobial medicines to treat conditions that would otherwise be fatal.

Antimicrobial resistance is drug resistance that renders these medicines ineffective. WHO is urging governments and stakeholders to implement policies and practices to prevent and counter the emergence of highly resistant microorganisms," it said.

Although antimicrobial resistance is not a new problem, it is fast becoming more dangerous.

"The time for sustained action is now, since we are slowly but surely moving towards a reversion to the dreadful pre-antibiotic era," Samlee Plianbangchang, WHO`s Regional Director for South-East Asia, said.

"If that happens, death and disease due to untreatable infectious diseases will become the biggest obstacle to poverty alleviation, development, and global efforts to make the world a better and more healthy place," he said.

Drugs needed to treat multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) are over 100 times more expensive than the first-line drugs.

In some countries the high cost is prohibitive, with the result that some of these cases can no longer be treated.

Similarly, the emergence of resistance in HIV to currently effective drugs could destroy the hopes of survival for millions of people living with HIV.

Discovery, development and distribution of new antibiotics is a long, drawn out and expensive process. After investing millions of dollars and years of research, when a new antibiotic becomes available, its misuse renders it ineffective in a very short time.