Indian pharma spreading antibiotic resistance

Today researchers and policy makers gathered at an international meeting in Uppsala to discuss how WHO's new global plan on antibiotic resistance will be put into action. In today’s show we will look deeper into how antibiotic waste from the Indian pharmaceutical factories can drive resistance in bacteria’s and through plasmids transfer to human disease bacterias.

In India, antibiotic-resistant bacteria´s is a big threat. At least 58,000 infants die each year because of such bacteria, according to a study. One of several causes is that pharmaceutical factories is dumping medicine residues in the environment. The risk is increasing for new evolving infections where antibiotics do not help, that can then be spread over the world, with more and more tourists.

In this program Swedish Radio's global health correspondent John Bergendorff takes the listeners to pharmacies, doctors and common people in a country that is particularly badly hit by the increasing resistance to antibiotics. The story begins in Hyderabad, where many of the country's pharmaceutical factories are situated.

Interviewd in the program are: Rajesh Vennamaneni, head of the pharmaceutical company Aswini Pharma of Hyderabad, Dr D Sengupta, the Indian pharmaceutical industry trade association CII, professor Joakim Larsson at the University of Gothenburg, Professor Neelam Kler neonatal doctor at Sir Gangaram Hospital in Delhi, pharmacy assistant Mahender in Hyderabad, family physician Dr. A Kishan Rao Hyderabad, chicken breeder Sekher Reddy, Sunita Narain, director of the Green Indian think tank Centre for Science and Environment and Charles Penn coordinator of antimicrobial resistance at WHO. Reporter: Johan Bergendorff