Overuse of antibiotics pose threat to country

By Don Asoka Wijewardena

Cosmetic Devices and Drug Regulatory Authority (CDDRA) Director Dr. Hemantha Beneragama yesterday warned that due to widespread misuse of antibiotics in Sri Lanka, it would cause far-reaching repercussions, like building resistance to them in people.

He pointed out that for the last 20 years no research to manufacture new antibiotics had been launched by the medical experts world-wide. There would be a great danger in the next 25 years with the existing antibiotics losing their effectiveness.

The misuse of antibiotics was rampant in Sri Lanka. Approximately 40,000 medical quacks prescribed powerful antibiotics to the patients. The side effects were serious in many ways. Even qualified doctors were in the habit of prescribing powerful antibiotics to the patients unnecessarily, he said.

Dr. Beneragama stressed that a majority of pharmacies were secretly issuing antibiotics to the people without valid prescriptions. Some people who remembered the previous prescribed antibiotics by the doctors were purchasing the same drugs over the counter without consulting medical opinion. The other thing was when doctors prescribed a course of medication for five days, the patients did not use the medication as prescribed.

He said that medicine should not be self-administered. All public sector medical officers had been informed not to prescribe unnecessary antibiotics. Unless Sri Lanka took precautions to minimise the wrong use of antibiotics, there would be a series of health hazards.

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