We also record close to 50-percent casualty rate
Jakarta (ANTARA) - Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin confirmed that three dangerous chemical substances were found in syrup medicine products suspected to cause atypical acute kidney failure among children.

According to the ministry's press statement here, Thursday, Sadikin remarked that the three substances were ethylene glycol (EG), diethylene glycol (DEG), and ethylene glycol butyl ether (EGBE), which ideally should not exist in syrup medicines.

Those chemical substances could be found in the syrup if polyethylene glycol, with strict tolerance limits, is used to increase the solubility of syrup medicines.

According to Indonesia Pharmacopoeia, EG and DEG were not used in the medicine formulation, yet their existence as a contaminant in syrup medicine, is tolerated for 0.1 percent for glycerine and propylene glycol and 0.25 percent for polyethylene glycol.

Sadikin confirmed that the ministry had suspended the sale of over-the-counter syrup medicine products to prevent more cases of acute kidney failure.

The ministry has also instructed health officers to not prescribe syrup medicine, suspected to be contaminated with EG and DEG, to patients, he emphasized.

"Pending the final quantitative research report from BPOM (National Agency of Drug and Food Control), the Health Ministry took conservative measures by (placing) a temporary ban on the use of syrup medicines," the minister noted.

He urged residents whose children need syrup medicines that could not be substituted with other medicine types, such as anti-epilepsy, to consult a paediatrician or a child health consultant.

Sadikin stated that 70 cases of atypical acute kidney failure among children below five years of age had been detected in Indonesia per month.

"Children with acute kidney failure have reached 70 per month, and the real case (count) might be higher than this. We also record close to 50-percent casualty rate," Sadikin remarked.

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Translator: Andi Firdaus, Nabil Ihsan
Editor: Sri Haryati
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