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India Belatedly Bans Colistin Antibiotic


News media in India this past week reported on a Ministry of Health notification prohibiting the manufacture, importation, distribution or sale of colistin a “last resort” antibiotic for human therapy. The action follows widespread abuse of the drug for growth promotion and injudicious, uncontrolled and unrestricted administration to livestock in India.


Colistin, a polymyxin is generally effective against Gram-negative bacteria. Abuse, especially in Asia has led to extensive dissemination of the mcr-1 plasmid-encoded gene imparting drug resistance to a wide range of pathogens of human health and veterinary significance.


Banning the drug for animal use is only a preliminary step. There must be hundreds of tons of colistin in the pipeline in India and illegal importation or even local manufacture will continue unless Federal authorities impose strict control with substantial penalties.  In the context of India this is highly unlikely. The action by the Government is both a “feel good” response to professional concern but also represents “window dressing” to support the export market for eggs and poultry. India faces concerns by importers over drug residues and contamination with drug-resistant pathogens.


Subscribers are referred to numerous articles in EGG-NEWS and CHICK-NEWS on mcr-1 induced drug resistance accessed by entering “colistin” in the SEARCH block.