MOHALI: A holistic one-health approach is needed to combat antimicrobial resistance (AMR), especially since a number of factors, including environmental and industrial ones, contribute to its rapid spread, says Rakesh Kumar Verma, Principal Secretary, Department of Science, Technology and Environment, Punjab.
Mr Verma was speaking at a sensitization workshop on the environmental aspects of AMR organized by the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) in partnership with Centrient Pharmaceuticals, a leading manufacturer of beta-lactam antibiotics.
The principal secretary said, “AMR is a serious public health threat, and if immediate action is not taken to combat it by 2050, the global death toll attributable to AMR could be as high as 10 million per year.”
“At this juncture, unmitigated spread of AMR could lead to humankind losing one of its most fundamental pillars of healthcare – antibiotics - and all stakeholders, including policymakers, must work in convergence to save antibiotics for the future generations,” Mr Verma added.
Prof Satwinder Singh Marwaha, Chairman PPCB, stated, “Punjab has already been actively working on pollution abatement from various industries with the objective of ensuring environmental sustainability. In the case of pharmaceutical pollution, the odds are even higher since untreated antibiotic residue affects both the environment and public health.”
Prof Marwaha said, “We understand that environmental regulations for the pharmaceutical industry are soon to be revised to include antibiotic residue limits, and it is imperative that the industry be prepared well in advance in order to ensure successful adoption and implementation of these regulations.”
The workshop, which was attended by academicians from the pharmaceutical and environment sector, doctors and representatives of pharmaceutical manufacturing companies from Punjab, was a step forward in looking at environmental contributors to antimicrobial resistance, such as effluents and waste from pharmaceutical manufacturing plants and hospitals.