Indiscriminate drug disposal to up AMR


Microbes on land and in water could develop immunity towards commonly prescribed drugs as no proper measures are taken to dispose of unused drugs in a scientific manner.

Drugs Controller of Kerala Ravi S. Menon said medicines finding its way into water resources and land could make the microbes immune to the drugs prescribed by clinicians to control infection. It could lead to scaling up of antibiotics to control infections, he added.

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has become a major issue as it could lead to treatment with high-end antibiotics that could scale up costs too, said Mr. Menon. The most important aspect is that there have been no new antibiotics developed in the last 15 years or so, hence, the scaling up of antibiotics in treatment could lead to the end of the last line of treatment available.

Unused drugs

Most homes are sure to have unused drugs. Medicines that remain unused are at some point tossed into the garbage along with organic waste. Most drug samples given to doctors also become part of unused drugs, and are likely to find their way into the surrounding environment, according to A. N. Mohan of All Kerala Chemists and Druggists Association.

It was important that the medical fraternity joined issue in handling and disposing them, he added. However, the Kerala branch of the Indian Medical Association that handles biomedical waste at a plant in Kanjikode will be unable to address the issue as the treatment required is different and the plant cannot afford to expand.

A drug packaged in plastic and aluminium foils has three different components to be disposed off. While it was high temperature incineration for aluminium foils, the chemicals in the drug and the plastics required another way out, said Mr. Mohan.

In Kerala, medicines worth over ₹10,000 crore are sold a year. Only 10% of the unused drugs from retail outlets make their way back into the manufacturing company. And, only major companies had such a policy to take back unsold medicines, said Mr. Menon.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2020 1:26:47 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/indiscriminate-drug-disposal-to-up-amr/article26515792.ece

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