Kolkata: The Indian Pharmaceutical Association's West Bengal chapter on Thursday urged the union health ministry to take steps to limit the use of antibiotics as growth promoters in livestock in the wake of increasing antibiotic resistance in India.
"We request the health ministry to control the indiscriminate use of antimicrobial growth promoters in livestock. It is one of major reasons driving antibiotic resistance today," Subhash C. Mandal, president of the Bengal chapter of IPA, told the media.
The IPA is celebrating the 54th National Pharmacy Week (NPW) from November 16 to November 22 with the theme of 'Responsible Use of Antibiotics Saves Lives' The event will coincide with the WHO's 'Antibiotic Awareness Week'.
IPA Bengal's honorary secretary Jayanta K. Chaudhury said: "Our demand is that the government should introduce a suitable antibiotic policy with the framework to curb rampant use of antibiotics in livestock which ultimately affects people's health. Almost 50 percent of the resistance is a result of use in livestock."
As part of the week-long observances, the IPA in collaboration with the Bengal Chemists and Druggists Association and state drug controller will generate awareness among shop-owners to not sell antibiotics over the counter without prescription.
"On the other hand, we are also concerned that patients are opting for self-medication and popping pills for simple cold and cough problems," added Chaudhury.
Kolkata district has been selected as a model district for enhancing public awareness on the issue.
According to a recent report titled "The State of World Antibiotics 2015", India has one of the highest rates of antibiotic resistance in the world.
The study highlighted the "increased demand for animal protein and resulting intensification of food animal production is leading to greater use of antibiotics in agriculture, again driving resistance".
"In India, the use of antibiotics in pre-mixed feed for livestock is going up a lot. We are not even aware that antibiotics are going inside our system. The strategy would be to stop use of antibiotics in the pre-mixed feed," said the report.