ANTIBIOTICS are meant to treat and cure infections, which by their very nature, require mandatory diagnosis before being prescribed and used. A general impression prevailed among serious public health professionals that such drugs were being arbitrarily marketed and prescribed by practicing doctors equally indiscriminately.
A study covering 6000 patients and 580 physicians over a period of six months in Dhaka and Rajshahi divisions published in the UK-based journal Science Domain International early this year confirms the above impression. It reveals that 44 percent doctors do not go for mandatory diagnosis, drug companies influence use and patients too are negligent in its application.
The patients' penchant for quick results is being exploited by companies with many a doctor going in for quick fixes rather than making painstaking effort to have the bacteria pinpointed and then prescribe the right antidote.
Whilst frequent use of antibiotics makes the patients resistant to even very potent variety of it, considerable damage may well have been caused to liver and kidney. This is public knowledge, too; yet, nothing has been done to deter the indiscriminate use.
Four compelling steps need to be taken: One, a countrywide public awareness campaign will have to be launched and sustained to sensitise the people about misuse of antibiotics; two, over the counter sales must be prohibited; three, WHO guidelines should be followed by doctors to determine the nature of microorganism before prescribing any antibiotic; and four, pharmaceutical companies should not pedal influence in its marketing.