The Urgent Appeal: Dispense Antibiotics Responsibly

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Last Updated on March 8, 2024 by The Health Master


The Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) in a recent move has issued a compelling appeal to all pharmacist associations across the country.

The appeal is straightforward: dispense antibiotics only on the prescription of a qualified doctor.

This article delves into the urgency of this appeal, the legal framework supporting it, and the global health implications of antibiotic misuse.

Understanding the Legal Framework

Under the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules 1945, antibiotics fall under Schedule H, necessitating their sale by retail only on the prescription of a Registered Medical Practitioner (RMP).

The gravity of this legal provision cannot be overstated, and compliance is crucial in addressing the growing concern of antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

An Urgent Plea from Professor Atul Goel

Professor Atul Goel, the Director General of Health Services, articulates the urgency in a heartfelt letter to pharmacists nationwide.

The appeal is crystal clear – strict implementation of Schedule H and H1 of the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules.

The emphasis is on halting the over-the-counter sale of antibiotics and ensuring they are dispensed only under the guidance of qualified medical practitioners.

The Global Threat of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)

AMR stands as a formidable global public health threat, directly responsible for 1.27 million deaths in 2019, with 4.95 million deaths associated with drug-resistant infections.

The peril lies in the compromised effectiveness of preventing and treating infections caused by resistant microbes, leading to prolonged illness and an elevated risk of mortality.

Impacts on Health and Treatment Failures

Beyond mortality, the consequences of AMR include treatment failures, extended periods of infectivity, and the prohibitive cost of second-line drugs.

Misuse and overuse of antimicrobials emerge as primary drivers in the development of drug-resistant pathogens, making prudent antibiotic use the need of the hour.

The Dearth of New Antibiotics and the Role of Pharmacists

With a scarcity of new antibiotics in the Research and Development pipeline, the responsible use of existing antibiotics becomes paramount.

High-end antibiotics, listed under Schedule HI drugs, require special attention.

The urgent appeal reiterates the need for pharmacists’ strict implementation to curb over-the-counter sales.

Collaboration with Pharmacist Associations: A Call for Support

The article underscores the importance of pharmacist associations in India extending their support.

Their role is crucial in promoting the judicious use of antimicrobials to curb the emergence of AMR.

It’s not just a plea; it’s a collective effort for a healthier and more sustainable future.

Consequences of Ignoring the Appeal

The consequences of neglecting this urgent appeal are profound, affecting public health and posing challenges in treating diseases.

The collective support from pharmacist associations is not just beneficial but vital for mitigating the adverse effects of AMR.

Disclaimer: This article contains information derived from the source mentioned below. Our team utilized an AI language model to rewrite and present the news or article in a unique format.


  1. Why is there a need for a prescription to buy antibiotics?
    • A prescription ensures that antibiotics are used appropriately, reducing the risk of misuse and resistance development.
  2. What is AMR, and why is it a global health threat?
    • AMR, or antimicrobial resistance, poses a threat as it hampers the effectiveness of drugs in preventing and treating infections.
  3. How does the over-the-counter sale of antibiotics contribute to AMR?
    • Over-the-counter sales can lead to the misuse and overuse of antibiotics, fueling the development of drug-resistant pathogens.
  4. What role do pharmacist associations play in combating AMR?
    • Pharmacist associations can support the cause by promoting responsible antibiotic use and ensuring strict adherence to dispensing regulations.
  5. How can individuals contribute to preventing AMR?
    • Individuals can contribute by following prescribed antibiotic courses, avoiding self-medication, and raising awareness about responsible antibiotic use.

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