Mandatory For Doctors To Provide ‘Exact Reason’ While Prescribing Antibiotics Drugs, Says Health Ministry

The DGHS has specifically requested pharmacist associations to dispense antibiotics only on the prescription of a qualified doctor. Additionally, they have also asked them to stop the practice of over-the-counter sale of antibiotics.

Mandatory For Doctors To Provide ‘Exact Reason’ While Prescribing Antibiotics Drugs, Says Health Ministry

New Delhi: In a bid to tackle the misuse of antibiotics or antimicrobial drugs in India, the central government has now made it mandatory for doctors to provide ‘exact indications‘ while prescribing these drugs, according to a report in News18. This move comes as an urgent appeal from the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), a wing under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. In letters addressed to all doctors of medical colleges, medical associations, and pharmacist associations across the country, the DGHS has emphasized the need for this crucial change.

According to a report in the publication, The DGHS has specifically requested pharmacist associations to dispense antibiotics only on the prescription of a qualified doctor. Additionally, they have also asked them to stop the practice of over-the-counter sale of antibiotics.

“…it is important that doctors mention exact indication on their prescriptions while prescribing antimicrobials,” a letter accessed by News18 said. “It is an urgent appeal to all doctors to mandatorily mention exact indication/reason/justification while prescribing antimicrobials,” it added

When it comes to prescriptions, the term ‘exact indications’ refers to the specific and accurate reasons or medical conditions for which antibiotics drugs are being prescribed. The central government has recognized the need for doctors to specify the precise purpose or medical necessity for using these medications.

News 18 mentioned that the move is seen as a major step towards curbing the over-prescription of antibiotics, which leads to antimicrobial resistance (AMR)– one of the top ten public health threats. The World Health Organization (WHO) has also warned of its looming threat where common drugs lose their punch against bacteria, potentially turning routine illnesses deadly. According to the letters, AMR is one of the top global public health threats facing humanity.

DGHS said that “AMR puts many of the gains of modern medicine at risk…..It threatens the effective prevention and treatment of infections caused by resistant microbes resulting in prolonged illness and greater risk of death.”

A letter points out that the problem of drug-resistant germs is increasing due to the excessive and improper use of anti-microbial medications. “It is estimated that bacterial AMR was directly responsible for 271. million global deaths in 2019 and 4.95 million deaths were associated with drug-resistant infections,” it said.

The letter sent to pharmacists emphasizes the importance of adhering to Schedule H and HI of the Drugs and Cosmetic Rules, necessitating the sale of antibiotics solely on the basis of legitimate prescriptions. It further advises them to specify the reason why a patient needs to be on antibiotics.



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