Minister of Health Budi Gunadi Sadikin and Head of BPOM deliver a press statement after attending a meeting chaired by President Jokowi, at the Bogor Presidential Palace, West Java, Monday (24/10/2022). Foto : Setkab.
BOGOR, THE NUSANTARA POST- Indonesian President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) asked the Minister of Health (Menkes) Budi Gunadi Sadikin to protect the public from drugs exposed to hazardous chemical compounds that are suspected of triggering acute kidney disorders.
This was stated by the Minister of Health after attending a meeting chaired by President Jokowi, at the Bogor Presidential Palace, West Java, Monday (24/10/2022).
“On last Sunday, the President specifically called us to ensure that the community is protected from the existing drugs. So the priority of the President is to ensure that the entire community can be protected from these drugs,” said the Minister of Health.
Minister of Health revealed that until now cases of atypical progressive acute kidney disorders or acute kidney injuries (AKI) in children in the country reached 245 cases that occurred in 26 provinces. Eighty percent of cases occurred in eight provinces, namely DKI Jakarta, West Java, Aceh, East Java, West Sumatra, Bali, Banten, and North Sumatra.
“The fatality rate or those who died, the percentage of the 245 cases is quite high, namely 141 or 57.6 percent,” said Budi.
Based on the patient’s toxicological analysis, investigations into the drugs consumed by the patient, as well as references from the World Health Organization (WHO), the Minister of Health said, it is very likely that patients suffering from AKI are exposed to dangerous chemical compounds from the syrups they drink. Previously, WHO on October 5 had issued a warning on 4 syrup drugs containing ethylene glycol in Gambia, which were suspected of being linked to the deaths of 66 children with acute kidney failure.
“So based on the release from WHO, the presence of chemical substances in the patient, biochemical evidence showing kidney damage due to this chemical, and the fourth presence of these chemicals in the medicines that are in the patient’s home, we conclude that it is true that the cause is chemical drugs. which is a contaminant or impurities from this solvent,” he said.
Based on these findings, the Ministry of Health took a conservative step by issuing a circular asking pharmacies to temporarily not sell over-the-counter and/or limited-free drugs in liquid/syrup form to the public. The Ministry of Health also asks health workers at health service facilities (fasyankes) to temporarily not prescribe medicines in liquid/syrup dosage forms, until the results of the search and research are complete.
“Since we stopped, we have observed a drastic decrease in the number of new patients admitted to the hospital. So if the RSCM was full, one child’s ICU bed could be filled with two or three, now the new addition since we banned it has drastically decreased the number of new patients,” said the Minister of Health.
The Minister of Health added that his party will soon issue a list of medicines in the form of liquid/syrup that do not contain hazardous chemicals in accordance with testing from the Food and Drug Supervisory Agency (BPOM). In addition, the Ministry of Health also allows the use of drugs in the form of syrup for a number of critical illnesses according to a doctor’s prescription.
“We have talked to the Indonesian Pediatrician Association, the Indonesian Pharmacists Association, there are some medicines that are syrupy in nature but are needed to cure critical illnesses, such as epilepsy and so on. If this is prohibited, the child can suffer or die from other diseases. Thus, we allow syrups which are used to treat critical illnesses but must be prescribed by a doctor,” he added.
Regarding treatment, the Minister of Health said that his party was continuously trying to bring in the drug Fomepizole for patients with acute kidney disorders.
“We have received 20 vials from Singapore, we are waiting for maybe 16 from Australia to enter, either tonight or tomorrow morning. We are in the process of buying from America, they don’t have too much stock there, we are also in the process of buying from Japan, the stock is around 2,000,” he said.
The Minister of Health added that his party will accelerate the arrival of the Fomepizole drug which has been proven to have a positive impact on patients with acute kidney disorders.
“Of the 10 patients who were given this drug, 7 have recovered, so we can conclude that this drug has a positive impact and we will accelerate its arrival in Indonesia so that 245 enter and maybe it will still increase a bit, we can treat it well,” he said.
Meanwhile, Head of BPOM Penny K. Lukito said that his party would be careful in testing and sampling drugs containing solvents. According to Penny, this is in accordance with President Jokowi’s directives.
“Earlier, the President’s message was very clear to be very careful. So we BPOM in testing sampling and testing these drugs are very careful, “said Penny.
Penny also said that BPOM in collaboration with the Indonesian National Police would follow up on two pharmaceutical industries suspected of producing drugs containing very high levels of ethylene glycol (EG) and diethylene glycol (DEG).
“In this process, we have found two pharmaceutical industries which we will follow up to become criminals. So Deputy IV, namely the Deputy for Enforcement from BPOM, has been assigned to us to enter the pharmaceutical industry, cooperate with the police in this regard and will immediately conduct an investigation to lead to a criminal case,” said Penny.