Stevani Wijaya, Jakarta – The National Police are investigating three pharmaceutical companies for allegations that they have supplied syrup medicines contaminated with unsafe chemicals linked to a surge in acute kidney injury cases among children, a high-ranking officer said on Monday.
At least 157 children have died from kidney injury in Indonesia over the past 10 months, according to the latest government data.
The Drug and Food Supervisory Agency (BPOM) earlier claimed that they found five syrup medicines tainted with ethylene glycol and diethylene glycol and ordered their recall.
Police said on Friday two drug companies were being investigated for tainted syrup medicines. "Now we have three companies overall," said Brig. Gen. Pipit Rismanto, a director of the criminal investigation agency (Bareskrim).
He again declined to name the companies that become the subject of the ongoing investigation. "We need to learn the case more closely so please be patient because the investigation will be conducted in a transparent manner," the officer said.
Pipit added his team is collaborating with the BPOM including in collecting evidence like blood and urine samples of the patients.
BPOM Head Penny Lukito said last week the agency is pursuing a criminal case against two pharmaceutical companies in connection to fatal AKI cases among young children.
The government imposed a blanket ban on syrup medicines on October 20 but later said 133 syrup products are safe for use.