The CEO of an Indonesian firm that produces cough syrup has been sentenced to jail after it was accused that the medicine resulted in the death of more than 200 children.

The boss and three other officials of the Indonesian firm Afi Farma were sentenced to jail.

The boss and the three officials were handed two-year prison sentences along with a fine of 1 billion Indonesian rupiah ($63,029; £51,7130) each.

Afi Farma, a pharmaceutical company, faced allegations of manufacturing cough syrups containing excessive amounts of harmful substances.

The company’s legal representative refuted claims of negligence and stated that they were deliberating whether to challenge the accusations.

The prosecution sought a prison term of seven to nine years for Afi Farma’s CEO, Prasetya Harahap, and seven years each for the other accused parties.

According to the Public Prosecutor, the company 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.

Prosecutors emphasized that Afi Farma failed to conduct ingredient testing for the cough syrup, relying solely on the supplier’s quality and safety certificates.

According to a report by BBC, Afi Farma’s lawyer, Samsul Hidayat, informed that Indonesia’s drug regulator did not mandate rigorous ingredient testing for drug manufacturers.

In the Kediri District Court, East Java, the judge found all four defendants guilty of deliberately producing pharmaceutical products that did not meet safety standards.

This incident occurred amidst global efforts to strengthen the supervision of drug supply chains following a series of poisonings. More than 200 Indonesian children, predominantly under the age of five, have succumbed to acute kidney injury associated with contaminated cough syrup since 2022.

Similar cases have been reported in The Gambia and Uzbekistan, prompting the World Health Organization (WHO) to issue warnings concerning six cough syrups manufactured in India and Indonesia.



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