November 28, 2010

New antibiotic policy may be introduced in 3 Delhi hospitals

To start with, the new national antibiotic policy is likely to be introduced in three central government hospitals in Delhi — Lady Hardinge Medical College, Safdarjung Hospital and Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital.

The policy, drafted by experts from the National Institute of Communicable Diseases, AIIMS, Indraprastha Apollo and others under the chairmanship of Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) Dr RK Srivastava, was on Tuesday sent for approval to Union Health Secretary K Sujatha Rao.

The experts recommended that the guidelines be implemented in the three hospitals as a pilot project and then in other hospitals across the country. Once cleared by the secretary and Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, the policy will be sent to Parliament for the creation of a separate Schedule-HX under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act and making it mandatory for antibiotic drugs to be sold against prescriptions.

As per the new rules, doctors will have to write prescriptions for antibiotics in duplicate. The chemist will have to retain one copy for a year from the date of sale in order to facilitate verification and audit.

The decision to formulate a new policy was taken by the DCGI last month to prevent misuse and overuse of antibiotics. The evolution of the ‘superbug’ NDM-1, resistant to even the most powerful group of antibiotics, has been blamed on antibiotic overuse.

About 16 high-end antibiotics, including Meropenem, Cefepime and Moxifloxacin have been put under the new schedule. Also, 58-odd antibiotics such as Penicillin, Ampicillin and 15 drugs containing codeine as well as first-line TB drugs such as Rifampicin, Isomiazid, Pyrazinamid and Ethambutol will require duplicate prescriptions.

Violators will be punished with a fine of at least Rs 20,000 and a year’s imprisonment, which may be extended to two years. The experts have also proposed that hospitals compulsorily set up a “drug control committee” to approve high-end antibiotics and an “infection control committee” to track and analyse infections.

Link: Original Article

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