Indonesia Reports 99 Child Deaths From Acute Kidney Injury; Medicinal Syrups Linked

By Reuters
October 19, 2022Health
Indonesia Reports 99 Child Deaths From Acute Kidney Injury; Medicinal Syrups Linked
A cough medication is poured in this picture illustration taken on Oct. 19, 2022. (Ajeng Dinar Ulfiana/Reuters)

JAKARTA—Some medicinal syrups available in Indonesia contained ingredients linked to fatal acute kidney injury (AKI) in children, its health minister said on Thursday, as it investigates a spike in cases and 99 child deaths this year.

Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin was also cited by media as saying some of those syrups were produced locally.

Indonesia has temporarily banned sales of all syrup-based medications and has been looking closely at paracetamol syrups containing toxic diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol that have been used to treat fever in children.

Gambia’s government is also investigating child AKI deaths linked to paracetamol syrups after 70 fatalities there. The syrups were made by New Delhi-based Maiden Pharmaceuticals Ltd, which India said it is investigating.

Indonesia’s food and drug agency (BPOM) has said Maiden Pharmaceuticals’ products are not available locally.

Ethylene glycol and diethylene glycol were detected in syrups found at the homes of some patients, health minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin said on Thursday, without specifying how many.

A health ministry spokesperson declined to say in how many child AKI patients the ingredients were detected.

Five out of 26 syrup medications tested by BPOM contained excessive levels of ethylene glycol, the agency said on Thursday. But it added it cannot be concluded these products are solely responsible for causing the illness.

BPOM ordered the companies to pull specified products out of circulation and destroy all remaining batches.

Indonesia has identified 206 AKI child cases of which 99 were fatalities this year. Budi said the real number of cases could be higher than reported.

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