Banda Aceh (ANTARA) - The Directorate of Supervision of Traditional Medicines and Health Supplements of the Food and Drug Supervisory Agency (BPOM) has detected medicinal chemicals (BKO) in 41 traditional medicines in Indonesia in the past 10 months.

"Based on BPOM testing in the period October 2021 to August 2022, there were 41 items of traditional medicines that were found to contain medicinal chemicals," coordinator for the security and quality substances group of the agency Better Rider said in Banda Aceh on Wednesday.

He conveyed the information during a focus group discussion (FGD) with the Banda Aceh BPOM on strengthening pentahelix synergies to handle traditional medicines containing BKO.

Rider highlighted the trend of adding BKO to traditional medicines, such as sildenafil citrate, which is claimed to increase male stamina, and dexamethasone, phenylbutazone, and paracetamol, which are touted to cure aches and pains.

The BKO also include ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, which are inappropriately claimed to prevent and treat COVID-19 symptoms, namely cough and sore throat.

"Based on reports from other countries' food and drug control authorities, it is known that as many as 95 items of traditional medicines and health supplements contain medicinal chemicals," Rider informed.

Traditional medicines must be completely natural without medicinal chemicals since BKO can have a negative impact on health, damage the body and the image of the drug, and reduce credibility, he said.

"Traditional natural medicines do not provide an instant treatment effect when compared with those containing BKO," Rider added.

Traditional medicines containing BKO can also have an impact on the economy, such as harming natural traditional medicine producers due to unfair competition and increasing health costs, he said.

In terms of the social impact, they can negatively affect the image of traditional medicines or herbal medicines, which are Indonesia's national heritage, by giving rise to anxiety and suspicion among people.

Lastly, traditional medicines containing BKO can lead to the accumulation of fat on the face and also cause fever, sore throat, and skin blisters, among others, he informed.

"The negative impact on health can also cause stomach wounds and even heart failure," he added.

Rider emphasized that traditional medicines must also not contain other hazardous materials such as alcohol, narcotics or psychotropic substances, and other materials that are considered dangerous based on health considerations.

"The general public does not know about this, so we need to educate the public regarding the dangers of herbal or traditional medicines containing BKO," he said.

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Translator: Rahmat Fajri, Resinta S
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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