Researchers worried sick over India topping list of antibiotic consumers

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NEW DELHI: A study by health researchers from India, USA , Germany and Belgium say that India has become the world’s largest consumer of antibiotics in humans by total volume between 2000 and 2015. Also worryingly, the use of antibiotic cephalosporins of last resort has drastically increased in India and the use per The capita of this class of drugs is higher than most high-income countries (HIC), says the study that has been published in the National Academy of Sciences.

The consumption of linezolid, another class of strong antibiotics has also increased dramatically in India, and since 2012 has been the largest consumer of this medication. The study, which analyzed the consumption of human antibiotics in 76 countries, is the most complete assessment of global trends to date. Researchers from the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Politics, Princeton University, Germany and the University of Antwerp conducted the study, which found that antibiotic consumption rates increased worldwide from 11.3 to 15.7 defined daily doses (DDD) per 1,000 inhabitants per day between 2000 and 2015

DDD is a statistical and standardized measure of drug use and represents the average maintenance dose assumed per day for a drug used for its main indication in adults. Despite the threat of a global health crisis in antibiotic resistance, the global use of antibiotics in humans increased 39 percent between 2000 and 2015, driven by dramatic increases in low and middle income countries (LMICs).

Among the low and middle income countries, India, there was the largest increase of 103 percent in the use of antibiotics, followed by China and Pakistan, between 2005-2015. In the same period, India’s antibiotic consumption rate increased from 8 to 13.6 DDD per 1,000 inhabitants per day compared to only a marginal increase in HICs, including US, France and Italy.

The total global use of antibiotics in humans was estimated at 35 billion DDD in 2015, an increase of 65 percent since 2000, while the consumption rate increased by 39 percent, from 11.3 to 15.7 DDD per 1,000 inhabitants per day. CDDEP Director and co-author of the Ramanan study Laxminarayan said it has been more than a year since the UN General Assembly recognized the global threat of antibiotic resistance, although little action has been taken since then. “We must act decisively and we must act now,” he said.