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Health ministry missive to doctors on antibiotics use


Rattled by irrational and rampant consumption of antibiotics, the Union health ministry has decided to impose certain strong restrictions on the use of drugs by sensitizing medical practitioners across the country. Interestingly, West Bengal is the highest consumer of antibiotics across the country, owing to irrational and rampant prescriptions to patients. A study conducted recently by the state health department revealed this alarming finding.

This claim came from none other than N S Narayan Swaroop Nigam, principal secretary in charge of health department. While addressing a seminar on 29 September, 2023, ‘Sepsis prevention awareness programme’ held at Swasthya Bhaban Mr Nigam had said, “We are the highest in the country in terms of antibiotics consumptions. While analyzing the use of antibiotics in our state we got this very important innovative data.”

Dr Atul Goel, director general of health services (DGHS), under the health ministry, has urged doctors across states and Union Territories (UT) to mention the exact indication, reason and justification while prescribing antibiotics to the patients.

Dr Goel has also asked pharmacists to stop selling these drugs over the counter, without a medical practitioner’s valid prescription. The ministry has issued the strong directive to all medical associations and pharmacists’ networks through a letter written by Dr Goel on 1 January.

The DGHS has also written the same letter to teaching doctors associated with all medical colleges and postgraduate medical research institutes in the country on the same day. “It is an urgent appeal to all the doctors to make it a mandatory practice to write indication/ reason/ justification while prescribing antimicrobials.

Looking forward to your support to promote judicious use of antimicrobials to reduce emergence of AMR,” according to the letter written by Dr Goel, a general medicine expert


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