Counterfeit drug affair sees first death. Police identify 20 people involved, take 16 into custody, and seize 205 phoney vaccines for hepatitis, 15 for tetanus, and others. Children immunised with fake vaccines in East Jakarta.
Jakarta (AsiaNews) – Fake drugs have become major public health issue in Indonesia, especially for millions of children.
Recently, Indonesian police identified 20 people in connection with the production and trafficking of counterfeit vaccines, causing shock in public opinion, especially after a child died from a counterfeit drug.
Of the 20 people involved, police took 16 into custody. The other four were released on humanitarian grounds, as the investigation continue.
The problem began in 2003 with the illegal trafficking of vaccines. However, its magnitude became apparent only this year.
The 20 suspects include six producers, five distributors, three sellers, two used bottle collectors, one printer, one nurse and two medical practitioners, Police detective chief General Ari Dono said.
The story came to light when a child died after he was immunised with a counterfeit vaccine.
Media coverage forced hitherto indifferent law enforcement to act, and speed up their investigation. What it found was a racket, a chain of supply and distribution, rather than ad hoc initiatives.
Police seized 205 vaccines for hepatitis, 15 for tetanus, as well as others.
In Ciracas, East Jakarta, police also found that 48 infants had been immunised with fake vaccines in a local health clinic.
Under pressure from public opinion, the Indonesian Ministry of Health recently released the names of 14 hospitals that used counterfeit and dangerous vaccines.
In Indonesia, both public and private hospitals as well as small surgeries (clinics) can administer vaccination.