Cough syrup company boss jailed after 200 child deaths due to toxic substance

The CEO and three other top officials of an Indonesian pharmaceutical company, Afi Farma, have been sentenced to two years in prison and fined 1 billion Indonesian rupiahs (ยฃ51,786) after their cough syrup was linked to the deaths of more than 200 children.

The cough syrup was found to contain a dangerous substance called ethylene glycol, which is used in things like paint and brake fluid.

The syrup should have had a safe ingredient called propylene glycol instead. Between October 2021 and February 2022, the company received supplies with the wrong ingredient.

The company failed to check the ingredients properly, trusting the safety certificates from their supplier.

The company’s lawyer argued that in Indonesia, there aren’t strict rules about checking these ingredients, which led to the tragedy.

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The judge said that the company knowingly made medicine that was not safe for children, leading to the tragic deaths.

More than 200 children in Indonesia died from kidney problems linked to this toxic cough syrup, and similar incidents happened in other countries.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has also warned about unsafe cough syrups from India and Indonesia, calling for stronger safety measures to protect people, especially children.

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