...we have also instructed pharmacies (to suspend sales) until the BPOM determines which syrup medicines are harmful
Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Health Ministry and the National Agency of Drug and Food Control (BPOM) are working to remove medicinal syrup products suspected of causing atypical acute kidney failure in children from the market, the Health Minister informed.

"We are now coordinating with the BPOM to act swiftly and decide which medicines we must withdraw," Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin said in Serang, Banten, on Thursday.

The decision to withdraw medicinal syrup products follows the finding of three harmful substances—ethylene glycol (EG), diethylene glycol (DEG), and ethylene glycol butyl ether (EGBE)—in 15 syrup samples obtained from acute kidney failure patients, he added.

The harmful chemical substances were also found in the internal organs of 99 children who died of atypical acute kidney failure, he said.

"We took their blood samples and detected the presence of dangerous substances, which could harm the kidneys. We also visited (the patients') home and inquired about the medicines consumed by them, and we found the same dangerous substances in their medicines," the minister expounded.

Firm and swift action is needed to protect more residents from the risk of acute kidney failure, as the current fatality rate of kidney failure in Indonesia is 70 per month.

"(Cases) which have been detected in Indonesia are 35 per month. Because hospitals are becoming full, we have decided to take preventive action," Sadikin said.

The preventive action has involved suspending the sale and prescription of medicinal syrup products, he underlined.

"We must hold (the sale and consumption) for a while to prevent more casualties among our children. Besides instructing doctors, we have also instructed pharmacies (to suspend sales) until the BPOM determines which syrup medicines are harmful," the minister informed.

He said that ethylene glycol and diethylene glycol have led to kidney failure and deaths in several countries, such as the Gambia, India, and China.

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Translator: Andi Firdaus, Nabil Ihsan
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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