It announced the prohibition of sale, manufacture and distribution of colistin and its formulations in food-producing animals, poultry, aqua farming and animal feed supplements with the hope of regulating antibiotic misuse in animals and containing antimicrobial resistance (AMR). The ban has been imposed under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act 1940.
In a statement, the ministry said: “The Central Government is satisfied that it is necessary and expedient in public interest to prohibit manufacture, sale and distribution of the drug Colistin and its formulations for food producing animals, poultry, aqua farming and animal feed supplements. Now, therefore, in exercise of powers conferred by section 26A of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 the government hereby prohibits manufacture, sale and distribution of the following drug with immediate effect, Colistin and its formulations for food producing animals, poultry, aqua farming and animal feed supplements.”
Developed in the 1950s, the antibiotic is used as a last resort for treatment of patients suffering from infections involving drug-resistant bacteria.
The notification also directs the manufacturers of colistin and its formulations to label the product “Not to be used in food producing animals, poultry, aqua farming and animal feed supplements” in a conspicuous manner on the package insert and promotional literature.
A ministry official was reported in Indian press as stating: “Colistin is an antibiotic for therapeutic purpose in veterinary. But the drug is highly misused in poultry industry as a growth promoter for prophylactic purpose. One of the reason for antibiotic resistance in India is due to unwanted use of Colistin in poultry industry. This notification will prevent use of the drug for prophylactic use.”
The ban was welcomed by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE). “It will help preserve this last-resort antibiotic for humans and save lives from deadly antibiotic-resistant infections. It will go a long way in fighting antibiotic resistance,” said Chandra Bhushan, deputy director general at the CSE.