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Tags Current Affairs

High anti-biotic prescription rate in private sector

Date: 01 December 2019 Tags: Reports & Indices


The private sector continues to clock high levels of antibiotic prescription rates, with the rate being highest for children aged 0–4 years and the lowest in the age group 10–19 years, according to a new study.



India is considered to be one of the top users of antibiotics and there is a growing problem of antimicrobial resistance. The study is the first ever estimate of outpatient antibiotic prescription rates and patterns in the private sector.



  • The study noted that the per capita antibiotic consumption in the retail sector has increased by around 22% in five years from 2012 to 2016.

  • It said the percentage of prescriptions for wide-spectrum antibiotics like cephalosporins and quinolones (38.2% and 16.3%) was significantly higher than the U.S. (14.0% and 12.7%) and Greece (32.9% and 0.5%).

  • Unusually high prescription rates of beta-lactams-penicillins and cephalosporins in uncomplicated upper respiratory infections in children are in stark contrast to the prescription rates and pattern reported in Europe.

  • Clinical guidelines on judicious antibiotic use explicitly mentions that they should not be prescribed for common cold, non-specific upper respiratory tract infection (URI), acute cough illness and acute bronchitis but the study shows a high rate of prescriptions for respiratory infections in primary care.

  • The study shows that around 100 million prescriptions were dispensed for acute upper respiratory tract infections alone, which rarely require an antibiotic therapy.

  • Irrational prescription and use of antibiotics has its origins in production and selling tactics of pharma companies. This has severe implications for safety and cost to patients in particular and society in general.

  • There is a need to target antimicrobial stewardship programmes to specific constituencies and stakeholders to raise awareness on antibiotics and prevent its misuse.

  • The misuse of antibiotics and easy access fuels antimicrobial resistance (AMR) which is a growing concern worldwide and in India.

  • The findings also highlight that primary care physicians in the private sector can play a key role in reducing antibiotic misuse and overuse.

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