Indian Private Sector Clocks High Levels of Antibiotic Prescription Rates


  • According to a new study by researchers at the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), the antibiotic prescription rates mark 412 per 1,000 persons per year
  • The rate is highest for children aged 0–4 years, which is 636 per 1,000 persons.
  • Lowest in the age group 10–19 years i.e. 280 per 1,000 persons.

The study “Outpatient antibiotic prescription rate and pattern in the private sector in India” has been published in PLOS One.

The researchers used the 12 months period from May 2013 to April 2014 medical audit dataset and concluded that the prescription rates for certain classes are on a higher side in India as compared to the developed nations.

Rates are even Higher for Widely-used Antibiotics Compared to the US and Greece

According to the study, the percentage of prescriptions for wide-spectrum antibiotics like cephalosporins and quinolones are 38.2% and 16.3% respectively. It was significantly higher than the U.S. (14.0% and 12.7%) and Greece (32.9% and 0.5%). 

The study shows a high rate of prescriptions use for respiratory infections in primary care. Thus, India is considered to be one of the top users of antibiotics and the problem of antimicrobial resistance is on the verge.

The study also mentioned that the per-capita antibiotic consumption in the retail sector has grown to approximately 22% in five years from 2012 to 2016.

The misuse of antibiotics and antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a growing concern worldwide and in highly polluted countries like India. However, the findings specifically highlighted that primary care physicians in the private sector can play a key role in reducing antibiotic misuse and overuse.

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