Indonesian Cough Syrup Maker's CEO Jailed After Child Deaths Due to Contaminated Syrup

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Indonesian Cough Syrup Maker's CEO Jailed After Child Deaths Due to Contaminated Syrup

Indonesian Cough Syrup Maker's CEO Jailed After Child Deaths Due to Contaminated Syrup

The CEO of Afi Farma, a pharmaceutical company in Indonesia, and three other officials have been sentenced to two years in prison and fined 1 billion Indonesian rupiah each, following allegations that their cough syrup led to the deaths of over 200 children. The accusations centered around the production of cough syrups containing excessive amounts of harmful substances.

Afi Farma's legal representative has denied claims of negligence and is considering whether to challenge the accusations. The prosecution had initially sought prison terms of seven to nine years for the CEO, Prasetya Harahap, and seven years each for the other accused individuals.

The Public Prosecutor revealed that the company had received two batches of propylene glycol between October 2021 and February 2022, which were found to contain 96% to 99% ethylene glycol, a toxic substance used in non-medicinal products such as paint, pens, and brake fluid. It was emphasized that Afi Farma failed to conduct ingredient testing for the cough syrup and relied solely on the supplier's quality and safety certificates.

Afi Farma's lawyer, Samsul Hidayat, pointed out that Indonesia's drug regulator did not require stringent ingredient testing for drug manufacturers.

In a court in the Kediri District of East Java, all four defendants were found guilty of intentionally producing pharmaceutical products that did not meet safety standards.

This incident occurred within the context of global efforts to enhance the oversight of drug supply chains following a series of poisonings. Over 200 Indonesian children, mainly under the age of five, have suffered from acute kidney injury linked to contaminated cough syrup since 2022. Similar cases have been reported in The Gambia and Uzbekistan, leading the World Health Organization (WHO) to issue warnings regarding six cough syrups manufactured in India and Indonesia.

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