The department of pharmaceuticals has asked drug manufacturers to be vigilant about antibiotic residue in factory effluents, a key cause for antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in India.
AMR refers to microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses and certain parasites developing immunity against antibiotics and antivirals, among other medicines, making standard treatments ineffective and infections persistent.
In a letter dated 11 October, the department asked Indian Drug Manufacturers’ Association (IDMA), Organisation of Pharmaceutical Producers of India (OPPI) and Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance (IPA), besides other associations, to urge their members to check pharmaceutical pollution.
The Central Pollution Control Board has set up an expert committee to draft standards for antibiotic residue in industrial effluents, and the draft is close to finalization, it said.
The department highlighted the fact that India could bear a “huge environmental load due to pharmaceutical pollution” in the future as it, along with China, produces 80-90% of medicines for the world.
“It is encouraging that the government is looking at pollution and quality of manufacturing…our member companies are all adhering to the guidelines around pollution,” OPPI director general Kanchana T.K. said. IDMA secretary general Daara B. Patel and IPA secretary general Sudarshan Jain said the associations have told their members about the letter and have asked them to be more vigilant. “We will discuss with our experts to work out our action plan,” Patel added.