Bad Oversight, Fallen Victims of Medicine

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - An outbreak of acute kidney injury in children has put the Food and Drug Monitoring Agency (BPOM) under the spotlight. The institution led by Penny Lukito is criticized for being slow in tracking down the medicines that have killed hundreds of children. Of the 269 children who suffered the condition, 157 died.

The World Health Organization (WHO) on October 5 issued a warning about syrup medicines from India that caused cases of acute kidney injuries in Gambia. But still, the BPOM did nothing. Instead, during a meeting at the health ministry on October 17, BPOM officials declared that medicines sold at home were safe for consumption.

In a state of emergency, the health ministry is unable to recall drugs considered to be dangerous. The authority to monitor drugs, including recalling products from circulation, falls under BPOM. In a race against time, on October 18 the health ministry instructed health workers not to prescribe syrup medicines, and told health facilities and pharmacies not to sell them.

It was not until Thursday, October 20, that BPOM finally released the names of five drugs suspected of containing harmful substances with amounts that exceeded the safe limit. According to Tempo sources, the announcement was actually delayed by one day. The longer they wait to announce the names of contaminated drugs, the greater the risk that more kids would become victims of acute kidney injuries.

Did big pharmaceutical companies really lobby against the announcement? Please enjoy reading our investigative report.

Stefanus Pramono

Managing Editor 



Bad Drugs, Fatal Kidney Injury

Pharmaceutical companies lobbied the Food and Drug Monitoring Agency to refrain from announcing the names of problematic medicines. Why didn’t BPOM act sooner?

A Mother’s Trauma 

In some regions, it is difficult to treat patients with acute kidney injuries. Read the stories from parents of the victims. 

A Blow to Pharmacies

The health ministry’s warning against selling syrup medicines puts the pharmaceutical industry in distraught. Different policies between the ministry and BPOM baffle pharmacies.

Misbehaving Pharmaceutical Companies Should be Punished

An interview with the Indonesian Pharmaceutical Companies Association Executive Director Elfiano Rizaldi. What put the pharmaceutical industry in turmoil?

BPOM Chief: We’ve Exercised Maximum Oversight  

BPOM Chief Penny Lukito insisted that her institution had carried out maximum supervision over the circulation of medicines, constantly coordinating with the health ministry.


Negligence Health Authority

Weak government oversight causes a surge in cases of acute kidney injury. The pharmaceutical industry is the most blameful for the health disaster.


Delayed Autopsies

There are intimidations toward families of the Kanjuruhan Stadium tragedy victims. The police have not named any new suspects.

The Kanjuruhan Fact-Finding Team: We Want Police Transparency

Investigation of the Kanjuruhan Tragedy is facing hurdles. Tempo interviews Independent Joint Fact-Finding Team member Laode Muhammad Syarif.

Twice Victimized

The woman raped by employees of the cooperatives ministry was connived to marry one of her rapists. The police were allegedly involved in deceiving the victim.  


An Iceberg of Sexual Violence

The cooperatives ministry officials have no understanding of gender justice in handling cases of sexual violence. Marrying the victims to the assaulters is not a solution.


The Fall of the Coal Giant Shares

The state-owned enterprises ministry encourages Bukit Asam to purchase PLN’s Palabuhanratu coal-fired steam power plant following difficulties to find investors for its early retirement program, much to the chagrin of Bukit Asam’s shareholders

PLTU Early Retirement’s Steep Path

PLN will soon launch a new model for its coal-fired power plant’s early retirement. The program requires cheap funding to ensure that all power plants can be replaced with the new and renewable generators by 2050.


Empty Talks of Energy Transition

The government’s image-building agenda is apparent in the planned acquisition of PLN’s coal-fired power plant by Bukit Asam. There is a certain danger behind the way the government runs its energy transition campaign.

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