Ban on Chloramphenicol and Nitrofurans

Context

The Drugs Consultative Committee (DCC) has recommended a complete ban on importing, distributing, and selling chloramphenicol and nitrofurans for use in food animal production systems.

Background

  • In 2019, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) banned colistin, a last-resort antibiotic listed as a critically important antimicrobial by the WHO, from use in food-producing animals, poultry, and animal feed supplements.

Chloramphenicol

  • Broad-Spectrum Antibiotic: Effective against a variety of serious bacterial infections.
  • Medical Uses: Used in treating superficial eye infections, enteric fever, typhoid fever, and central nervous system infections such as acute bacterial meningitis.
  • WHO Classification: Recognized by the WHO as a Highly Important Antimicrobial (HIA).

Nitrofurans

  • Classification: Nitrofurans and their derivatives are classified as Important Antimicrobials (IA) by WHO.
  • Usage: Effective in treating animal diseases like urinary and intestinal bacterial infections. They promote animal growth and are used in poultry and to treat gastrointestinal tract diseases and skin diseases in aquatic animals due to their bactericidal effect.
  • Global Ban: Many countries, including parts of the EU and the USA, have banned nitrofurans from use in food-producing animals.

Colistin

  • Last-Resort Antibiotic: Used to treat bacterial infections caused by susceptible Gram-negative bacteria and is a last line of defense against serious infections, including those caused by multidrug-resistant organisms.
  • Mechanism: Colistin binds to fatty molecules on the cell membranes of gram-negative bacteria, causing cell contents to leak, leading to cell death.
  • Toxicity: Colistin can be toxic to the central nervous system and may cause temporary neurological disturbances such as tingling, numbness, dizziness, vertigo, and slurred speech.

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