Indonesian children's medicine contains ingredients linked to fatal kidney injury 

Indonesia has temporarily banned sales of all syrup-based medications as it investigates a spike in cases and 99 child deaths this year.

 A cameraman takes visuals outside the office of Maiden Pharmaceuticals Ltd. company, in New Delhi, India, October 6, 2022 (photo credit: REUTERS/ANUSHREE FADNAVIS)
A cameraman takes visuals outside the office of Maiden Pharmaceuticals Ltd. company, in New Delhi, India, October 6, 2022
(photo credit: REUTERS/ANUSHREE FADNAVIS)

Some medicinal syrups available in Indonesia contained ingredients linked to fatal acute kidney injury (AKI) in children, its health minister said on Thursday, as it investigates a spike in cases and 99 child deaths this year.

Indonesia has temporarily banned sales of all syrup-based medications and has been looking closely at paracetamol syrups used locally to treat fever in children that contain diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol.

India investigating Delhi-based pharma company

Gambia's government is also investigating child AKI deaths linked to paracetamol syrups after 70 fatalities there. The syrups were made by New Delhi-based Maiden Pharmaceuticals, which India said it is investigating.

Indonesia's food and drug agency has said those particular products were not available locally.

Ethylene glycol and diethylene glycol were detected in products found at the homes of some of the patients, health minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin said on Thursday, without specifying how many.

 Logo of the Maiden Pharmaceuticals company is seen on a board outside their office in New Delhi, India, October 6, 2022 (credit: REUTERS/ANUSHREE FADNAVIS) Logo of the Maiden Pharmaceuticals company is seen on a board outside their office in New Delhi, India, October 6, 2022 (credit: REUTERS/ANUSHREE FADNAVIS)

"Some syrups that were used by AKI child patients under five were proven to contain ethylene glycol and diethylene glycol that was not supposed to be there, or of very little amount," he said.

206 AKI cases in Indonesia, 99 dead this year

As of Thursday, Indonesia has identified 206 AKI child cases of which 99 were fatalities this year. Budi said the real number of cases could be higher than reported.

A health ministry spokesperson declined to say in how many child AKI patients the ingredients were detected, citing the ongoing investigation.