Jakarta (ANTARA) - Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin has asked the Food and Drug Supervisory Agency (BPOM) to carry out production quality testing of several types of drugs to prevent widespread kidney injury in children.

"We have coordinated with BPOM to conduct quality control for each production batch," Sadikin informed at the 2022 National Nutrition Movement in Jakarta on Wednesday.

He emphasized that quality checks are needed to save the lives of the nation's children who are currently in danger due to the emergence of acute kidney injury and various types of viruses.

Inspections of product quality can also strengthen the monitoring of types of dangerous drugs at a time when the Health Ministry is trying to procure drugs for patients with heart and kidney failure in large quantities, he added.

Currently, the government is trying to bring in more Fomepizole, an antidote for drug poisoning seen in acute kidney injury patients, from abroad. The government is also finalizing antidote purchases from the US and Japan.

"When I visited Singapore yesterday, I also asked for more Fomepizole drugs. We already received 10 vials from Singapore and 16 vials from Australia. Now, we are waiting for finalizing purchases from America and Japan,” he disclosed.

The minister informed that after receiving the medication, the condition of acute kidney injury patients at Cipto Mangunkusumo Hospital (RSCM) showed an improvement. Thus, the medicine was found effective in reducing the severity of the condition.

"We injected the medicine into ten patients of acute kidney failure under five years old. Seven of them were already cured and the other three were in stable condition. The efficacy of this medicine was good," he stated.

Further, the number of acute kidney injury cases has also seen a significant decline due to the policy of temporarily stopping the sale of drugs in liquid or syrup form.

"After we stopped selling the syrup at the pharmacy, 2 cases were reported, which used to be 30–40, now it has dropped drastically," he informed.

Earlier, spokesperson for the Health Ministry, Mohammad Syahril, had said that as of October 24, 2022, as many as 255 cases of acute kidney injury have been detected in 26 provinces.

Meanwhile, 143 patients have died of acute kidney injury, equivalent to 56 percent of the total cases.

Based on the results of a joint investigation with the Indonesian Pediatrician Association (IDAI), drug poisoning due to syrup medications has been determined to be the cause of acute kidney injury cases in Indonesia.

The spike in cases of acute kidney injury has been attributed to the presence of chemical contaminants, including ethylene glycol (EG), diethylene glycol (DEG), and ethylene glycol butyl ether (EGBE), in certain drugs.

In response to the spike, the government has prohibited the use, distribution, and prescription of syrup drugs to the public as of October 18.

"The policy has temporarily succeeded in preventing the addition of new cases at the RSCM as a national kidney referral," he added.

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Translator: Hreeloita Dharma S, Resinta S
Editor: Sri Haryati
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