Hendro Situmorang, Jakarta – Two pharmaceutical companies have been named suspects for allegedly using dangerous chemicals in the production of syrup medicines, the Drug and Food Supervisory Agency (BPOM) confirmed on Thursday.
The government has been conducting a nationwide crackdown on chemical suppliers and drug companies that produced syrup medicines tainted with ethylene glycol (EG) and diethylene glycol (DEG) which are widely linked to the growing number of kidney injury cases among children.
"Yarindo Farmatama and Universal Pharmaceutical Industries have undergone [police] investigation and become suspects," BPOM Head Penny Lukito said at a news conference at her office in Jakarta.
Three other companies – Afi Farma, Samco Farma, and Ciubros Farma – are still under police investigation, she added.
Penny said the BPOM has revoked the licenses of the five companies to support police investigation and deter other companies from reckless behavior in drug production.
The BPOM also takes action against a chemical distributor company identified as Samudra Chemical for allegedly mixing EG and DEG with water and selling them as propylene glycol, which is often used as a solvent in syrup medicine production, she said.
Those troubled companies are facing charges of violating the 2009 Health Law and the Consumer Protection Law which carry a maximum punishment of 10 years in prison.
Indonesia has recorded 269 cases of children with acute kidney injuries and 157 deaths between January and October of the year.