The number of Indonesian children who have died from acute kidney injury (AKI) due to taking cough syrup rose to 195 on Monday, prompting the Indonesian government to temporarily ban the sale and use of all syrup and liquid medicine.
At a press conference on Monday, Mohammad Syahril, a spokesperson for the Indonesian Ministry of Health, said that Indonesian authorities have recorded more than 320 cases of AKI across the country and that 27 patients are still in the hospital.
Indonesian authorities began banning syrup and liquid medicine after 99 children – most of them under 5 years old – died in early October after ingesting cough syrups
According to the investigation, health officials found that some cough syrups contain high amounts of ethylene glycol and diethylene glycol, compounds used to make antifreeze and other industrial products.
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“Some syrups that were used by AKI child patients under five were proven to contain ethylene glycol and diethylene glycol that were not supposed to be there, or of very little amount,” Indonesia’s Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin said last month.
Indonesia’s national food and drug administration released the names of the five syrup and liquid medicine that contained the compounds last month and ordered that they be collected and destroyed. Authorities also investigated three local pharmaceutical companies that made the medicine, two of which had already temporarily lost their licenses to make syrup and liquid medicine.
Indonesian authorities have been importing medicine donated by Singapore and Australia to combat AKI. The country’s health ministry noted that the imported antidote has shown significant results among the children affected by AKI.
The recent rise of AKI cases in Indonesia came just weeks after the World Health Organization named four Indian-made cough syrups linked to the deaths of 70 children in the Western African country of The Gambia.