Antibiotic resistance is a global public health threat and one of particular concern in India. A mix of poor public health systems, high rates of infectious disease, inexpensive antibiotics, and rising incomes are is coming together to increase prevalence of resistant pathogens and is increasing the burden of untreatable neonatal sepsis and health-care-associated infections. However, a few urgent priorities for immediate implementation could make a difference according to Ramanan Laxminarayan from the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy, Washington DC, United States, and Ranjit Roy Chaudhury, from Apollo Hospitals Educational and Research Foundation, New Delhi, India, writing in an Essay published in PLOS Medicine.
The authors note, “Over-the-counter access to antibiotics is a problem, but regulations to restrict access have to be balanced against the need to maintain access for the significant proportion of the population that lacks access to doctors. Indeed, lack of access to effective and affordable antibiotics still kills more children in India than does drug resistance”
The authors argue that better regulation in India to curb overuse of antibiotics being sold over the counter and as growth promoters for livestock, alongside efforts to promote behaviour change and improve India’s health system could help to curb rising antibiotic resistance.