The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has
issued an order prohibiting the manufacture, sale and distribution of colistin
and its formulations for food producing animals, poultry and aqua farms.
Colistin is a polypeptide antibiotic from the
group of polymyxins. It is predominantly used in veterinary medicine in the
treatment of intestinal diseases as well as other infections. The drug has been
highly misused in India’s poultry industry.
In humans, it is used as a last line therapy to
treat infections caused by multidrug-resistant Gram-negative bacteria. According
to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Colistin is a “reserve” antibiotic.
The prohibition comes as an effort to curb the
growing menace of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). One of the major cause of AMR
is the rampant use of antibiotics in livestock animals and poultry.
A 2017 global study on antibiotic use in farm
animals projected the consumption of antibiotics through animal sources to
nearly double during 2013-2030.
The study had ranked India the fourth largest
consumer of antibiotics in food animals globally after China, the United States
Anti-microbial resistance is the ability of a
microorganism (like bacteria, fungi, viruses, and some parasites) to stop an
antimicrobial (such as antibiotics, antifungals, antivirals and antimalarial)
from working against it.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recognises
AMR as a serious threat to global public health.