Over-the-counter sales of antibiotics for human use in India: The challenges and opportunities for regulation

Gerard Porter, Anita Kotwani, Lovleen Bhullar, Jyoti Joshi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

This article assesses the regulatory framework relating to over-the-counter (OTC) sales of antibiotics for human use in India. The OTC sale of antibiotics is recognised as a pathway for the emergence of antimicrobial resistance (AMR); a serious public health challenge in need of urgent regulatory responses. Analytically, this article identifies opportunities within existing laws in India and highlights gaps that need to be filled by modifying existing laws or developing new ones. Conceptually, it suggests a need to reflect on the limits of traditional, top-down, ‘command-and control’ regulation and to think about alternative approaches. The article therefore advocates for an approach to regulation that incorporates two elements. First, it argues for a broader concept of regulation that encompasses binding as well as non-binding regulatory instruments and initiatives aimed at influencing stakeholder behaviour (including soft regulation, economic incentives, information campaigns and uses of technology). Second, it makes the case for enhanced stakeholder participation in regulatory design. The article will be relevant for health policy and drug regulators in India and other low- and middle-income countries, as well as legal scholars, social scientists and others interested in the regulation of OTC sales of antibiotics for AMR containment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-173
Number of pages27
JournalMedical Law International
Issue number2
Early online date17 Jun 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 Jun 2021

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • antibiotics
  • antimicrobial resistance
  • India
  • over-the-counter sales
  • regulation


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