Jakarta (ANTARA) - It is suspected that the contamination of syrup medicines with prohibited substances occurred during the quality control (QC) of raw materials in factories.

A member of the expert council of the Indonesian Pharmacists Association (IPA) Keri Lestari made the remarks at an online discussion on "The Mystery of Acute Kidney Failure" here on Saturday.

"There was a potential for contamination during QC of raw materials. There are the food grade and pharmaceutical grade; for every (drug) raw material, there is an analysis certificate that states the existence of ethylene glycol and diethylene glycol at 0.1 percent (the maximum limit), which means it passes (the QC), and then is verified at the factory again," Lestari said.

Ethylene glycol (EG) and diethylene glycol (DEG) are solvents that are usually present in propylene glycol and glycerin within the 0.1-percent threshold, while the amount of polyethylene glycol must not exceed 0.20 percent, she explained.

When a drug factory applies for a distribution permit from the National Agency of Drug and Food Control (BPOM), the agency conducts an inspection, starting from the initial production stage for quality assurance to the final product stage, she informed.

Quality assurance involves making sure the medicinal raw materials are not mixed with EG and DEG.

Lestari said that she could not say whether there was some form of violation in the provision of syrup drug raw materials because the BPOM is still conducting further examinations related to this aspect.

However, she assured that the possibility of drug damage due to improper storage is very small because drugs can only be damaged if stored at a very high or very low temperature.

Furthermore, she urged people to purchase medicines from genuine health facilities using prescriptions and suggested non-pharmacological therapies for treating fever.

"There are two therapies in pharmacy, pharmacology that uses drugs and non-pharmacology through nutrition," she said.

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Translator: Kuntum R, Kenzu
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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