Jakarta (ANTARA) - Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives (DPR) Sufmi Dasco Ahmad urged the government to take a firm stance regarding the handling of acute kidney failure in children.

"The government must take a firm stance; not on one hand urging (to stop giving paracetamol to children), but on the other hand, there is a statement from the deputy minister of health that the use of paracetamol is unsafe," Ahmad remarked here on Thursday.

The DPR deputy speaker noted that if paracetamol should not be given to children, then there should be a prohibition and not solely an appeal.

He further emphasized that if a strict prohibition has been implemented, then the government should provide a substitute, as paracetamol has been widely used to treat various diseases in families.

According to Ahmad, the government should provide adequate information regarding the disease.

He assessed that a firm decision from the government was deemed vital to provide alternative medicines while awaiting the results of research regarding the cause of the disease.

"Indecision will lead to various negative reactions and slanders. Thus, decide immediately -- yes or no -- not an appeal or even an unnecessary debate," he stressed.

According to the Health Ministry's press statement here, Thursday, 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.

He 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.

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Translator: Imam Budilaksono, Raka Adji
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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