Shahid Akhter, editor, ETHealthworld, spoke to Prof. Samuel Raj, Dean Academics, SRM University to know more about challenges associated with AMR and the way forward.
As one of the largest drug manufacturers in the world, we are vested with a moral responsibility to curtail environmental AMR arising due to the unregulated discharge of pharma effluents. However, we need to take this issue more seriously. The Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change (MoEFCC) in 2020 had brought forth a draft of a regulation notifying limits for the concentration of antibiotics in pharmaceutical effluents. Had this regulation been formalized, it would have been a torchbearer for the entire world. I worry that due to the pandemic, along with the greater than usual production of drugs, a higher volume of pharma effluents has been released into the water bodies. If there were regulations in place, it would have prevented the uptick in AMR that will now happen. Antibiotic pollution is increasingly becoming a menace in India. Many of the pharma hubs are reporting environmental degradation due to the unchecked release of effluents. Recently, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) pulled up the Himachal Pradesh Pollution Control Board (HPCB) for exposing people to the harmful effects of AMR by failing to check antibiotic pollution in the Baddi pharma hub located in Solan. The court also asked the MoEFCC to expedite the finalization of the permissible limit of antibiotic compounds in pharma effluents. Apart from robust regulations, manufacturers of drugs in India should be incentivized to move towards green procurement and sustainable production practices.

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