Government BANS use of decade old antibiotic COLISTIN in animal feeding, fishing
New Delhi: Through a recent Gazette notification, the Union Health Ministry has imposed a ban on popular antibiotic Colistin and its formulations in food-producing animals, poultry and aquafarms, with immediate effect. The move is likely to preserve the drug's efficacy in humans and keep a check on the growing menace of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in humans through animals here.
The Government has also directed manufacturers of Colistin to specify “in a conspicuous manner” on the labels, package inserts and promotional literature that these products are “not to be used in food-producing animals, poultry, aqua farming and animal feed supplements”
The decision comes following the advice of the country’s apex advisory board, Drugs Technical Advisory Board (DTAB), on issues related to the pharmaceutical sector. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had reportedly been contemplating to prohibit the use of colistin in animals for long.
Colistin is given to chickens and other farm animals to make them gain weight faster and as pre-emptive protection against disease. The antibiotic is also used as a last line of defence in humans whose infections are not responding to other drugs. However, the decades-old drug fell out of favour in human medicine due to its kidney toxicity.
A senior health ministry official told PTI, “Colistin is an antibiotic for therapeutic purpose in veterinary. But the drug is highly misused in the poultry industry as a growth promoter for prophylactic purpose. One of the reasons for antibiotic resistance in India is due to unwanted use of Colistin in the poultry industry. This notification will prevent the use of the drug for prophylactic use.”
"It is brought to the notice of the Central Government that the use of the drug Colistin and its formulations for food-producing animals, poultry, aqua farming and animal feed supplements is likely to involve risk to human beings;
In exercise of powers conferred by section 26A of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 (23 of 1940), the Central Government issued an order that seeks to prevent the use of Colistin for prophylactic purposes and mandate it for the manufacturers to write clearly on the label that the drug is not to be used in food-producing animals, poultry, aqua farming and animal-feed supplement.
prohibits the manufacture, sale and distribution of the following drug with immediate effect, namely:― “Colistin and its formulations for food-producing animals, poultry, aqua farming and animal feed supplements”; and
directs that the manufacturer of Colistin and its formulations shall label the container of the drug and mention the words “NOT TO BE USED IN FOOD PRODUCING ANIMALS, POULTRY, AQUA FARMING AND ANIMAL FEED SUPPLEMENTS” in conspicuous manner on the package insert and promotional literature of the said drug and its.
The European Union reportedly banned colistin in 2006, Malaysia and China joined the list in 2018 and do not permit the use of the antibiotic, both for therapeutic and growth promotion in animals.
A couple of years ago, an exhaustive scientific study raised concern of the menace of the widespread misuse of the antibiotics in the poultry sector.
As per a media report by the Deccan Herald, one of the studies conducted in India collected over 1500 samples from 530 birds in 18 poultry farms in six districts in Punjab. The samples were tested for resistance to a range of antibiotics critical to human medicine. Surprisingly, two-thirds of the farms reported using antibiotics like Colistin to boost growth.
“The central government is satisfied that it is necessary and expedient in the public interest to prohibit the drug for animal-rearing,” the gazette notification added.
Backing the present decision, a government researcher, requesting anonymity told HT, “Misuse of last-resort antibiotics such as colistin is a major concern as it fuels antimicrobial resistance that’s a global concern. It is a step in the right direction.”