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Fresh law on the cards to curb misuse of antibiotics

Published : 06 Feb 2023 10:33 PM | Updated : 07 Feb 2023 08:30 PM

The government has designed a new law in order to prevent the misuse of antibiotics in the country. After the enactment of the law, any pharmacy or any individual can’t sell antibiotics without prescription from physicians. 

The Cabinet approved the draft of the ‘Drugs Act, 2023’ in principle with the provision of making it mandatory to have a registered doctor’s prescription for purchasing antibiotics and sedatives.

The approval was given in the Cabinet meeting held at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) on Monday (February 6). Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina presided over the meeting. Later, Cabinet Secretary Md Mahbub Hossain briefed the media. 

Md Mahbub Hossain said that the Cabinet has given the final approval to the draft of the ‘Drugs Act, 2023’ with a provision of Tk 20,000 fine for selling antibiotics without a doctor’s prescription.

Besides, in the draft law, the provision of maximum life imprisonment has been proposed for creating crisis by illegally stocking medicines and making adulterated medicines, said the Cabinet Secretary.

The Cabinet Secretary said that the proposed law covers not only drugs but also cosmetics. So, the law is named ‘Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 2023’.

He also said that new clauses have been added regarding the use of medical devices. The production and distribution of cosmetics will be regulated by this law. The Directorate General of Drug Administration (DGDA) will work on this.

Md Mahbub Hossain said that from now on, the approval of the government should be taken to manufacture new cosmetics. Besides, 30 offenses have been added to the new drug law, which were not in the previous law.

The Cabinet Secretary also said, in this new law, if any drug is found harmful, it will be immediately removed (cancelled) from the drug market. According to the proposed law, the guidelines of WHO should be followed in all matters in the production of medicines. The government will determine the price of some medicines in the proposed law, he added. 

After enactment of the ‘Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 2023’, the ‘Drug Act, 1940’ and the ‘Drug (control) Ordinance, 1982’ will be merged as well as updated with the new law. 

The Drug Act, 1940 and the Drug (control) Ordinance, 1982 focus on drug quality. The old law does not say anything about drug adulteration.

According to health experts, misuse of antibiotics is a silent killer. Around 15 lakh people die every year across the world due to excessive consumption of antibiotics and Bangladesh is also seeing its impacts getting worse.

They said that taking antibiotics without prescription has negatively impacted public health. The overuse of antibiotics, especially taking antibiotics when they are not required for the correct treatment, promotes antibiotic resistance. Inappropriate use of antibiotics also reduces the resistance capacity of the human body.

However, the presence of antibiotics was found in fish and meat, which is a matter of grave concern.

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