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BPOM is Tracking Cough Syrups Containing Pholcodine in Indonesia

Illustration – Syrup Medicines (BP/Ant)

JAKARTA – Following the withdrawal of cough syrups containing Pholcodine in Australia, the Indonesian Food and Drug Authority (BPOM) is now tracking products containing Pholcodine in Indonesia.

As reported on the BPOM’s official website and confirmed by the BPOM Public Relations team in Jakarta, quoted by Antara news agency on Tuesday (28/3), the withdrawal of cough syrups containing Pholcodine from the market was initiated by the Therapeutic Goods Administration/TGA, the regulatory drug watchdog in Australia.

The revocation of the distribution permit and recall of cough syrups containing Pholcodine was announced by the TGA on February 28, 2023, citing safety concerns and the protection of public health.

This action was taken after data emerged showing that the use of Pholcodine could interact with neuromuscular blocking agents given during general anesthesia in surgical procedures. Such interaction can cause anaphylaxis or sudden, severe, and life-threatening allergic reactions.

BPOM states that Pholcodine belongs to the opioid/narcotic drug class and is used to treat dry coughs in children and adults, as well as flu symptoms in combination with other drugs. This drug works in the body by suppressing cough reflexes in the brain.

Based on BPOM’s database search, there are currently no registered medicines containing Pholcodine in Indonesia.

Pholcodine-like drugs with a similar mechanism of action and purpose are Codeine, which is classified as a narcotic and is strictly regulated by the government, including BPOM, and must be used under the supervision of a doctor.

BPOM is currently searching for the possibility of online distribution of this drug in Indonesia. BPOM encourages the public to be more vigilant and become wise consumers by buying and obtaining drugs through official channels such as pharmacies, licensed drug stores, health clinics, or nearby hospitals.

The public is also advised to only purchase hard drugs with a doctor’s prescription from official channels, such as pharmacies, health clinics, or hospitals. Buying drugs online should only be done through pharmacies with Electronic Pharmacy System Provider (PSEF) permits.

Implementing the KLIK check (Check the Packaging, Label, Distribution Permit, and Expiration Date) before buying or using drugs is also recommended. Make sure the product packaging is in good condition, read the product information on the label, and make sure the product has BPOM’s distribution permit and has not expired. (Kmb/Balipost)