July 23, 2019


India bans colistin in animal feed, livestock and aquaculture farms



India's Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, in its July 19 notification, has prohibited "with immediate effect" the manufacture, sale and distribution of colistin and its formulations for this purpose.


The Indian Express reported that the move was to curb the growing problem of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in humans through animals.


The Ministry has also directed manufacturers of colistin to specify "in conspicuous manner" on the labels, package inserts and promotional literature that these products are "not to be used in food producing animals, poultry, aqua farming and animal feed supplements".


A separate report by The Hindu stated that the bulk of colistin (nearly 95%) is imported from China.


According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), colistin is a "last-resort" antibiotic in treatment for humans and used only in the most serious circumstances, when all other alternatives have failed.


However, colistin has been "highly misused" in India's livestock industry to prevent diseases and to promote growth of such animals, a senior Health Ministry official said on condition of anonymity, adding that it is one of the reasons for antimicrobial resistance in India.


The ban comes months after the Drugs Technical Advisory Board (DTAB), India's apex drug advisory body, recommended that the drug's use be banned in animal farming industries.