Contamination of cough syrups suspected during quality control

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta – It is suspected that the contamination of cough syrup drugs containing banned substances have occurred during quality control (QC) of raw materials in factories.

Indonesian Pharmacists Association (IPA) expert board member Keri Lestari made the remarks during an online discussion on “The Mystery of Acute Illness Renal failure” Saturday.

“There was potential for contamination during the QC of the raw materials. There is food grade and pharmaceutical grade; for each (medicinal) raw material there is a certificate of analysis which indicates the existence of ethylene glycol and 0.1% diethylene glycol (the upper limit), which means it passes (the QC), and then is checked again at the factory,” Lestari said.

Ethylene glycol (EG) and diethylene glycol (DEG) are solvents generally present in propylene glycol and glycerine within the limit of 0.1%, while the amount of polyethylene glycol must not exceed 0.20% , she explained.

When a drug factory applies for a distribution license from the National Drug and Food Control Agency (BPOM), the agency conducts an inspection, starting from the initial production stage for quality assurance through to the final product stage, she informed.

Quality assurance is to ensure that medicinal raw materials are not mixed with EG and DEG.

Lestari said she could not say if there had been any form of breach in the supply of raw material syrup, as the BPM is conducting further reviews related to this aspect.

However, she assured that the possibility of drug damage due to improper storage is very low because drugs can only be damaged if stored at very high or very low temperature.

Additionally, she urged people to buy medicine from genuine health institutions using prescriptions and suggested non-pharmacological therapies to treat fever.

“There are two therapies in pharmacy, pharmacology which uses drugs and non-pharmacology via nutrition,” she said.


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