Jakarta (ANTARA) - The National Food and Drug Supervisory Agency (BPOM) is currently attempting to trace the sales of syrup drugs containing pholcodine in Indonesia following the recall of such products in Australia.

In a statement released on Monday, BPOM said that no medicines containing the substance have been registered in Indonesia.

However, the agency is investigating the possibility of the online sale of the products in Indonesia.

Head of the cooperation and public relations bureau of BPOM, Noorman Effendi, told ANTARA on Tuesday that Australia's Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has recalled products containing pholcodine since February 28, 2023.

TGA revoked the distribution permit and recalled products containing pholcodine due to drug safety and public health reasons.

The decision was made after the use of pholcodine was found to interact with neuromuscular blocking agents given through general anesthesia during surgery and cause anaphylaxis, a severe and life-threatening allergic reaction.

BPOM noted that pholcodine is an opioid medicine that can be used to treat dry coughs and flu symptoms in children and adults as it suppresses the cough center in the brain.

Meanwhile, codeine, a drug with a similar mechanism of action and functions as pholcodine, is still being used in Indonesia under strict government monitoring and must be used according to the doctor's prescription, the agency said.

BPOM appealed to the public to be vigilant before taking any medication and only purchase drugs at pharmacies, licensed drugstores, community health centers (puskesmas), and hospitals.

It is also advisable to carry out online purchases at pharmacies that have an Online Pharmacy System Operator (PSEF) Permit, as well as check the distribution permit and expiration date of medicines before buying and taking them.

In addition, the agency has asked the public to read the product information on the packaging labels of the drug and ensure that the packaging of the product is in good condition.

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Translator: Andi Firdaus, Uyu Liman
Editor: Anton Santoso
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