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‘Irrational use of antibiotics playing havoc with nation’s health’

‘Irrational use of antibiotics playing havoc with nation’s health’

ISLAMABAD: Seventy-one per cent of the infections in the newborns in Pakistan are from Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria (ARB), Minister of National Health Services (NHS) Saira Afzal Tarar told the Senate the other day.

Her startling statement came in a written reply to a question put by Senator Nuzhar Sadiq in July whether easy availability and widespread use of antibiotic drugs have contributed to the high rate of antibiotic resistance among the population to a number of standard antibiotics.

“Yes, antibiotic resistance is due to irrational use of antibiotic and is one of the major reasons for the antibiotic resistance development,” the minister stated quoting the World Economic Forum Global Risk data published in 2013 because “presently no such national data is available”.




However, the minister said the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan was considering “a draft proposal” to devise a national policy to control, what Sen. Sadiq described as “the rising trend of antimicrobial resistance” in the people.

“Moreover,” the minister stated, “international agencies like USAID, MHRA of UK etc will be requested for surveillance of antimicrobial resistance.”

Dr Altaf Hussain, Administrator, Pims, who also headed the Children Hospital, considers it “a very sensitive issue”.

While talking to Dawn observed that Drug Act 1962 has many rules and regulations about medicines but they are not implemented. “Medicines like Paracetamol may be sold without prescription but certainly not the controlled drugs, especially antibiotics,” he said.

There are three figures in the chain of unnecessary use of drugs, according to him.

“Firstly, doctors should not prescribe medicine unnecessarily. Secondly, the pharmacist can ask for review of even doctor-prescribed medicine or suggest a reduced dosage. And thirdly the drug inspector has to monitor that drugs are not sold without prescription,” he said.

“Unfortunately laws are not implemented in Pakistan and there are very few drug inspectors to enforce,” he said. — A Reporter

Published in Dawn, August 8th, 2015

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