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2) Consumption of poor quality medicines could be accelerating drug resistance in India. Examine the issue with an eye on what needs to be done.(250 words)

Topic – Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

2) Consumption of poor quality medicines could be accelerating drug resistance in India. Examine the issue with an eye on what needs to be done.(250 words)

The Hindu

Why this question

The article highlights the growing risk of AMR developing in India on account of the spurious quality of drugs manufactured and consumed in India. It also examines the associated issues such as the nature of regulations in India along with the likely impact on the pharmacy of the world. Questions related to pharma sector are often asked in UPSC including in this year’s paper and thus it would be prudent to prepare this issue.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to explain what AMR is and its linkage to the problem of low quality medicines, along with data on the extent of the problem. Next, we need to bring out the regulations related to checking the usage of such low quality medicines and the role of CDSCO in this regard. Finally, we need to suggest steps on what needs to be done to keep the issue in check.

Directive word

Examine

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Highlight that India has an unusually high rate of AMR primarily on account of two reasons – improper course of antibiotics and low quality for antibiotics. Highlight that The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that one in 10 medical products sold in low- and middle-income countries such as India are either substandard or falsified

Body

  • Explain the issues arising out of such a situation both in terms of health outcomes for India and the loss of reputation.
  • Next, bring out the causes why such a situation exists – standards set by CDSCO which prescribe  that medicines can be short of up to 30% of the active ingredient before they are considered seriously sub-standard — that’s three times the shortfall generally allowed for most anti-infective medicines in the British or U.S. pharmacopeia, poor overseeing and monitoring of pharma manufacturers, lack of engagement etc
  • Discuss what steps can be taken to check the menace – government improving its procurement and regulatory infrastructure, creating awareness etc

Conclusion – Emphasize on the necessity to address this problem on an urgent basis and discuss way forward.