Hyderabad: A new report by the Indian School of Business’ Max Institute of Healthcare Management and the Center for Global Development highlights the importance of improving antimicrobial innovation, accessibility, and stewardship practices to tackle antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in India. The report urges governments and key stakeholders to address this pressing public health issue.
India currently experiences over a million deaths annually due to drug-resistant pathogens, highlighting the severity of the AMR problem. Factors contributing to the issue include the widespread misuse and overuse of antibiotics, both within healthcare facilities and in domestic settings.
The report highlights shortcomings in the government’s National Action Plan on AMR, particularly in drug procurement, access, and stewardship practices.
The report also highlights the importance of implementing state-level action plans to combat the spread of AMR, noting that currently, only four states—Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, New Delhi, and Andhra Pradesh—have taken such measures.
Prof. Sarang Deo, Executive Director of ISB Max Institute of Healthcare Management, stresses the need for innovative solutions to ensure uninterrupted access to high-quality antimicrobial medications while preventing antibiotic overuse. This is particularly crucial for small- and medium-sized hospitals that often lack robust stewardship programs and operational economies of scale.
One proposed solution involves strengthening hospital accreditation, which would certify effective antimicrobial stewardship practices, and establishing a pooled procurement system through public-private partnerships for high-end antimicrobials based on these accreditation systems.
The report puts forward several recommendations to tackle AMR, including modifying procurement practices, adding essential antimicrobials to state drug procurement lists, enhancing inter-state coordination, improving surveillance, and upgrading diagnostic facilities in healthcare institutions.
Additionally, the report emphasizes the need to create an innovation ecosystem for antimicrobial research and development, with a specific focus on developing tailored antimicrobials for the Indian context. This recommendation is rooted in the report’s key finding that critical-priority pathogens in India demonstrate resistance to over half of the available antimicrobials, necessitating the urgent development of new antibiotics.
Javier Guzman, Senior Policy Fellow and Director of Global Health Policy at the Center for Global Development, underscores the potential impact of the report’s policy recommendations, highlighting their implementation through the National Action Plan on AMR and state-level action plans. If effectively executed, these recommendations position India as a global leader in the fight against AMR and significantly enhance global health security.