The Anticlimax with Antibiotics
Few weeks back, when the report on the traces of antibiotics found in chicken surfaced in the media and it sent shock waves across the nation. This heralded a number of debates in the television media and we had it full from the common man’s opinion to the expert’s advice. Chicken being the largest consumed and most favourite meat of Indians, the news was rather more disturbing.
Other news that got reported across the printed media in the dailies went largely unnoticed. Ironically it was indeed more disturbing than the one that got public attention. The news was about the report on a research conducted by the researchers in Princeton University. The team focused their research on the global consumption of antibiotics and it’s the trend across nations between 2000 and 2010. The result of the study was published as ‘Global Trends in Antibiotic Consumption 2000-2010’.
The study reveals the increased usage of antibiotics among people worldwide, especially amid the BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). The reports points out that these nations are responsible for three fourths of the escalation in the global trend in the past decade. The sad news is India tops the chart. Currently India stands as the largest consumers of antibiotics in the world followed by China and the US.
Mulling on the reason behind this Indian scenario on the surge in consumption will logically draw us to only few explanations. Indians have recently become more health conscious than ever. The increased access to pharmaceutical products, owing to the raise in the spending capacity in the past two decade among the middle class Indians and the wide reach of the government health care initiatives that benefited the commoners could be sited as one of the major reasons.
The increased access to the details on drugs via the media and internet has phenomenally increased the tendency of self-medication among individuals. Despite reiterated warnings from the doctors and medical fraternity on the dangers of self-medication it prevails as the most common approach among many Indians for minor health based troubles.
Everyone who approaches the doctor wants a fast track cure and keep the doctors insisting on it. Hence the doctors have begun to prescribe drugs of heavy dosage even for most common illnesses like common cold or fever. This trend on a longer term would only make the pathogens more immune to the consumed antibiotics and would prove ineffective eventually, warn the experts.
Children who consume more of such drugs get their natural immunity system altered permanently, beyond repair and will be forced to relay solely on the medication for everything later in their lives.
Shockingly there has been a surge in consumption of antibiotics as high as 36% globally in the past decade alone, says the study. The report also highlights increasing resistance to some of the drugs which have been considered as last resorts in treatments.
The awareness on the drugs and their usage among the public under the guidance of the health care officials has become the need of the hour. The pharmaceutical can never be hoped on this as they are only keen in creating regular customers and consumers of their products which will ultimately help to hike their sales.