Following the deaths of nearly 100 children this year from acute kidney injury, the Indonesian government announced on Wednesday a ban on all syrup and liquid medicine prescription and over-the-counter sales.
The ban comes as South-east Asian health officials investigate an unexplained increase in the number of children dying from acute kidney injury (AKI) since January.
It also comes after nearly 70 children died from AKI in the Gambia earlier this year in a scandal involving four Indian-made cough syrups.
The syrups imported into the Gambia, according to the Indonesian food and drug agency, were not available in the South-east Asian country.
“Until today, we have received 206 reported cases from 20 provinces, with 99 deaths,” health ministry spokesman 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 rise in cases of AKI began in January this year and accelerated further since late August, the ministry spokesman said, adding that a probe was launched last week.
Since late August 2022, the ministry and the pediatrician association have received increasing reports of acute kidney injury. The jump is sharp,” he said.
Most of the cases reported in Indonesia involved children aged under 18, mainly toddlers under five years old, the ministry said.