After nearly 100 children died this year from acute kidney injury, the Indonesian government issued a ban on all syrup and liquid pharmaceutical prescription and over-the-counter sales on Wednesday.
The ban was implemented as the health officials of the Southeast Asian nation looked into an unexplained increase since January in the number of paediatric deaths from acute renal damage.
It also follows a controversy involving four cough syrups made in India that resulted in the deaths of nearly 70 kids in The Gambia earlier this year from AKI.
The syrups brought into The Gambia, according to the Indonesian food and drug regulator, are unavailable in the Southeast Asian nation.
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“Until today, we have received 206 reported cases from 20 provinces with 99 deaths,” the health ministry’s spokesperson Syahril Mansyur told a press briefing.
“As a precaution, the ministry has asked all health workers in health facilities not to prescribe liquid medicine or syrup temporarily… we also asked drug stores to temporarily stop non-prescription liquid medicine or syrup sales until the investigation is completed,” he added.
The increase in AKI cases started in January of this year and has picked up speed since late August, according to the ministry spokesperson, who also noted that an investigation was started last week.
“Since late August 2022, the ministry and the paediatrician association have received increasing reports of acute kidney injury. The jump is sharp,” the spokesperson said.
As per the ministry, children under the age of 18 were involved in the majority of instances reported in Indonesia, particularly young children under five.
The ministry normally observed one or two instances of AKI each month prior to the recent increase.
(With inputs from agencies)
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