Sometimes, a story appears on my feed and the first thing I want to do is…

smash(Let’s call it…SMASH!)

This morning, that emotion bubbled to the surface when I read a recent story about an Indian drug industry lobby group’s response to a massive problem.

In the middle of the country, near the city of Hyderabad…

patancheru(To get you oriented)

There is Kazipally Lake. It’s a small lake – some call it a pond – but it has made big news over the last few years. It’s because this one site has become the “poster child” for the uncontrolled spread of antibiotic resistance. As one cartoon depicts it…

pharma-to-farma(Drugs For All, Sustainability For None) 

As you might expect, there is a pharmaceutical plant in the area. It’s called Aurobindo Pharma. It produces a number of different types of drugs, including antibiotics. While the output of this plant is beneficial for all through a generous supply of pills, the waste ends up here…

discharge(Not pretty, is it?)

As you might expect, much of this runoff contains residuals of antibiotics. These then flow into Kazipally Lake where they encounter the microbial population living in the water. As we all know by now, when this happens, antibiotic resistance is bound to occur. As to how much, let’s compare with other bodies of water…

lakes-compare(Take a guess which one is Kazipally?)

Several other studies have confirmed this lake is a haven for antibiotic resistance genes. If you want to check them out, just hit up Google Scholar and type in: “Kazipally.” Or just click the link that already does it for you: Google Scholar Results For Kazapally

At this point of the story, you might already be wondering what is wrong with these people. I have for years. But now comes the part of the story that will simply make you…

hulk-angry(Don’t SMASH yet…)

The Pharmaceutical Export Promotion Council, also known as Pharmexil, released a statement saying there is no impact from pharmaceutical production. It went on to suggest any regulations to slow down the dumping of antibiotics would lead to economic disaster and hurt exports of drugs.

In other words, they were saying…

innocent(It gets worse…)

It’s not that they don’t believe there is antibiotic resistance. Pharmexil admits antibiotic resistance is indeed a problem. Yet, despite agreeing to this reality, they have no intention to make any changes. Without government regulation – which no doubt they will oppose – nothing will get done.

Now you are where I was when I read the article, which is pretty much here…

hulk-smash(Just not my computer…)

This tale, while incredibly frustrating, nicely sums up the troubles we all face when it comes to actually doing something about resistance. We can reduce the number of prescriptions, we can adhere to antibiotic abstinence in agriculture, and we can talk about how we can all do more to stop the antibiotic era.

But what we cannot do is stop the production of these drugs. They are necessary…at least for now. Without proper government regulations to keep manufacturers in check, stories like Kazipally will inevitably put all of our futures at risk.

Trying to get authorities to do something about it, however, well, that’s another kind of smashing…

earth-wall(Fitting isn’t it?)

If you still want to read the story, you can find it here:  India drug industry lobby hits back at antibiotic pollution claims

 

 

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