Skip to main content

Indian pharma cos export antibiotics having superbugs, world's biggest public health threat, UK govt warned

Counterview Desk
Would the British National Health Service (NHS), the publicly funded national healthcare system, ban import of specific antibiotic drugs produced by Indian pharmaceutical companies, because they allegedly lead to the growth of "superbugs" infection that is allegedly resistant to antibiotics?
It would seem so, if a new report in the “Bureau of Investigative Journalism” is any indication. Pointing out that UK’s Department of Health (DoH) is all set to come up with “new rules for antibiotic factories which export drugs to Britain”, says, superbugs proliferated by antibiotics exported by pharmaceutical companies in India are the “biggest public health crises facing the world today.”
Authored by Andrew Wasley and Madlen Davies, the report regrets, “Till now there are no checks or regulations in place to stop this happening – even though the rapid growth in antibiotic resistant bacteria in India is spreading across the world, including to the UK and NHS hospitals.”
It insists, “Purchasers of antibiotics such as the NHS must immediately blacklist pharmaceutical companies with manufacturing practices that contribute to the spread of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), and to implement procurement policies that include environmental criteria.”
The report was funded Changing Markets, which asked the investigative agency Ecostorm to collect the Indian water samples. Ecostorm was co-founded by Andrew Wasley, a co-author of the report.
Insisting that “new tests on water samples taken outside pharmaceutical factories in India which sell to the NHS found they contained bacteria which were resistant to the antibiotics made inside the plants”, the report states, “Industrial waste containing active antibiotic ingredients is being leaked into the surrounding environment.”
The report says, Changing Markets tested water samples collected at 36 locations across India - including sites adjacent to drug manufacturing plants as well as rivers and wastewater treatment plants – “and found 16 contained antibiotic resistant E.coli bacteria”.
It adds, analysis of water originating inside the perimeter of near a company's plant near the Indian city of Hyderabad has found that “70% of E.coli bacteria present were resistant to fluoroquinolones - a class of antibiotics classified by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as being critically important to human medicine.”
The report quotes Dr JV Reddy, chief doctor at the state-run Gandhi Hospital in Hyderabad with 1,200 beds, as saying that “half of all samples sent for testing, including blood and urine samples taken from patients seeking treatment, contained drug-resistant bacteria.”
The report says, “Studies have shown how this causes nearby bacteria to develop immunity to the drugs – creating 'superbugs' – and that those resistant bacteria then spread around the world.”
The report quotes top economist Lord Jim O'Neill, who conducted a major review into global antibiotic resistance, also known as AMR, to say that the results of the tests were "deeply troubling". The British government-commissioned study “found superbugs would kill more people than cancer by 2050 if no action is taken, and cited pollution in pharmaceutical supply chains as a major problem.”
One of the companies, says the report, has a “£450,000-a-year contract, supplying every NHS health region in Scotland with antibiotics including flucloxacillin, metronidazole and meropenem”, adding, “The company exports to more than 150 countries around the globe and 87% of its profits - which last year totalled about £200 million - are made from international operations, according to its most recent annual report.”
“At least three companies licensed to supply the NHS have not signed up to a new roadmap put in place following a recent United Nations antibiotic resistance summit”, the report says, adding, this has happened even as “13 global pharmaceutical firms pledged to review manufacturing and supply chains to make sure the release of antibiotics into the environment was being properly controlled.”

Comments

TRENDING

Noam Chomsky, top scholars ask NRIs to take stand on human rights violations in India

Counterview Desk
Renowned world scholars, including Noam Chomsky, James Petras, Angela Davis, Fredric Jameson, Bruno Latour, Ilan Pappe, Judith Butler, among others, have issued a statement castigating the Narendra Modi government for allegedly creating an environment of fear through arrests, intimidation and violence.

Actionable programme for 2019 polls amidst lynch mobs, caste violence, hate mongering

Counterview Desk
Reclaiming the Republic, a civil rights network, has released a document prepared under the chairmanship of Justice AP Shah (retired) -- and backed, among others, by Supreme Court advocate Prashant Bhushan, bureaucrat-turned-human rights activist Harsh Mander, economist Prabhat Patnaik, Right to transparency activist Anjali Bhardwaj and social scientist Yogendra Yadav  (click HERE for full list) -- with the "aim" of putting forth policy and legislative reforms needed to “protect” and “strengthen” the Constitutional safeguards for India’s democratic polity.

India under Modi "promoted" crony business, protected financial fraudsters, fueled bigotry

By Sandeep* and Rahul Pandey**
Narendra Modi's ascension to power was accompanied with jubilation and expectation. His supporters were expecting an end to era of corruption and initiation of good governance which was described as Achche Din. His party's adherence to idea of nationalism was believed to make India a vibrant country and guide India to be a world leader. He gave the slogan of 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas' conveying that his government was for all.
Corruption The government system is infested with corruption. A minimum of 10% is siphoned off from government schemes and projects, some of which goes back to political party in power and remaining is pocketed by various administrative, executive and political functionaries. This corruption continues and has increased. Now an additional Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) person working as Official on Special Duty or some equivalent position in every government department also has a share in this booty.
The Narendra M…

Inviting Rajapaksa to India "insult" to 1,40,000 Tamils killed by Sri Lankan army

Counterview Desk
In the context of Sri Lankan opposition leader Mahinda Rajapaksa being invited in India, about 75 human rights activists*, claiming to be concerned about rights violations during the civil war in Sri Lanka, especially in 2009, have joined together to express their dissent through a statement.

Modi wants Pak govt be held responsible for JeM terror strike: World doesn't agree

By Sandeep Pandey*
I went to participate in a candle light homage paying event at Dr BR Ambedkar's statue organised by about 200 Dalit students on Hazratganj main crossing in Lucknow on February 16, 2019 evening, two days after the dastardly terrorist act in Pulwana, Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), in which 44 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel was killed.

Post-advisory, Govt of India appears reluctant to ban e-cigarettes, "harmful" to kids

By Rajiv Shah
Is the Government of India dilly-dallying over the issue of banning e-cigarettes, which have been declared by anti-tobacco activists across the world as providing “an entryway to nicotine addiction”, especially among the kids? It would seem so, if the latest developments are any guide.

A Godse legacy? BJP rulers have "refrained" from calling Gandhi Father of the Nation

By Dr Hari Desai*
What an agony! On one hand, the entire India is celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but on the other side, so-called Hindu Mahasabha members have been found mock-enacting the killing of the Mahatma and celebrating the murder by distributing sweets!

No aadhaar, no ration? Hard blow by Gujarat govt on poor and marginalized

By Pankti Jog*
Only those who have aadhaar registration and linked it with ration card will get ration from a Public Distribution System (PDS) shop. This decision of the Gujarat government has hit very badly thousands of poor and marginalized communities of Gujarat, especially during the drought year.

Not just Indian women engineers, men too face sexual harassment at workplace: US study

By Rajiv Shah
A recent research, carried out jointly by two US-based non-profit organizations, Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and Center for WorkLife Law (WLL), based at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, has found that 45% of women engineers as against 28% of men engineers complained that it was perceived as “inappropriate when women argued at work, even when it was work-related.”

Anti-liquor march: Women padyatris "resolve" to occupy Karnataka state assembly

By Abhay, Swarna Bhat*
At a huge public convention held at Siddaganga Mutt on the Republic Day, January 26, 2019, in the presence of Sanehalli Sri Panditaradhya Swamiji, padyatris of the Madya Nishedha Andolana decided to intensify the ongoing liquor ban movement. A resolution passed at the convention, in which thousands of rural women joined in, the marching women declared that on reaching Bengaluru will “occupy Vidhan Soudha” on Mahatma Gandhi’s martyrdom day, January 30.