Thiruvananthapuram, 23rd December 2022: The Kerala government has decided to cancel the licenses of pharmacies that sell antibiotics without a doctor’s prescription. This has come after recognising that the misuse and overuse of anti-microbials are the main drivers in the development of drug-resistant pathogens.

“We decided to take steps to strictly prohibit it. Strict instructions will be given to cancel the licenses of pharmacies selling antibiotics without a doctor’s prescription,” the state health department said on Wednesday.

“Antibiotics have been found to be used unscientifically not only in humans but also in animal husbandry, poultry farming, fish farming, etc. Moreover, even in the samples collected from the environment, bacteria, and genes capable of resisting antibiotics have been found. The unscientific use of antibiotics in all sectors led to this situation,” it said after the annual review meeting of KARSAP (Kerala Anti-Microbial Resistance Strategic Action Plan), chaired by Health Minister Veena George.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites change over time and no longer respond to medicines. This makes infections harder to treat and increases the risk of disease spread, severe illness and death. Due to this drug resistance, antibiotics and other antimicrobial medicines become ineffective and infections become increasingly harder or impossible to treat.

The government has also informed that they will take measures to make all primary health centres in Kerala antibiotic smart primary health centres, as part of strengthening its anti-microbial resistance (AMR) activities in the state.