Indonesia calls for ban on syrups after death of almost 100 children

Jakarta, Oct 19 (EFE).- Indonesia’s health authorities Wednesday called for a ban on the sale of syrups following the death of 99 children from acute kidney injury (AKI) since January and dozens of deaths in Gambia allegedly linked to drugs imported from India.

Health ministry spokesperson Mohammad Syahril said at a press conference that there has been an increase in cases of acute kidney injury among children since the end of August.

The spokesperson said that so far this year, the ministry has registered 206 cases of acute kidney injury in children – of which 99 have died -, as opposed to the previous average of one or two cases per month.

Syahril said that the causes of acute kidney injury were still being investigated and that there will be more findings next week.

Meanwhile, the Directorate General of Health Services on Wednesday called for a temporary ban on the sale of all types of syrups in the archipelago until further investigations are carried out.

The World Health Organization issued an alert on Oct. 6 about four cough and cold syrups produced by the Indian-based Maiden Pharmaceuticals saying they could be linked to the death of over 60 children in The Gambia.

These include Promethazine Oral Solution, Kofexmalin Baby Cough Syrup, Makoff Baby Cough Syrup, and Magrip N Cold Syrup.

Until now, the Indonesian authorities had said that these products were not available in the country.

“Laboratory analysis of samples of each of the four products confirms that they contain unacceptable amounts of diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol as contaminants,” the WHO said.

According to the UN agency, “diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol are toxic to humans when consumed and can prove fatal,” and their effects include “abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhoea, inability to pass urine, headache, altered mental state, and acute kidney injury which may lead to death.”

The WHO also said that, to date, the four products had been identified only in The Gambia but added that they may have been distributed to other countries through informal markets.

Maiden Pharmaceuticals has been operating for more than 30 years and has two plants in India, both in the northern state of Haryana.

It produces capsules, injections, liquid syrup, ointments and tablets that are sold in countries in Asia, Africa and South America, according to the company. EFE


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