Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Indonesia - IDI,YLKI Push for More Strict Monitoring over Drug Distribution

The Chairman of Indonesia's Doctors Association (IDI), Daeng Mohammad Faqih, has said that one of the ways through which Indonesia could stem the proliferation and trade of counterfeit drugs is by strengthening the existing monitoring and enforcement mechanism, and called for the Food and Drugs Monitoring Agency (BPOM) to tighten up its' monitoring over the importation of drugs and its' precursors. "There needs to be more stringent monitoring at the downstream level," he said in Jakarta on Saturday, September 10, 2016.

According to Faqih, there are currently no concrete laws and/or regulations that sets out the ways through which drugs and its' precursors could be distributed - which means that anyone could acquire precursor ingredients in a relatively easy manner. Faqih used the case of drug counterfeiting operation that were recently uncovered, and said that the case could be examined and used as an 'entry-point' to stem the manufacturing, distribution and trade of counterfeit medications.

The IDI Chairman also said that BPOM needs to be more coordinated when it comes to monitoring the distribution and trade of drugs in the market - and as such, should work closer with local Health Agencies because BPOM simply lack the manpower to visit each and every drugstores, clinics and/or hospitals in Indonesia.

Faqih also said although the laws are not yet set in stone, Indonesia already has the necessary instrument to penalise drug counterfeiters. In order to ensure the efficiency of these mechanisms, he continued, BPOM needs to work together with the police task force and the Health Ministry to uncover the true extent of the counterfeit drugs distribution chain.

The Head of Public Complaints for Indonesia's Consumer Protection Agency (YLKI), Sularsih, said that enforcement should begin by the imposition of tough penalties to those who have been caught in violation of Indonesia's existing laws and regulations - but in lieu of the lack of laws that clearly sets out how drugs and medications are supposed to be distributed, BPOM needs to hash out the details and work ever more closely with the Health Ministry and the Police.

Furthermore, continued Sularsih, pharmaceutical companies whose products are known to have been counterfeited should come forward and file a formal report - as a report will allow BPOM, the Police task force, and the Health Ministry to begin their investigation.

YLKI even pushes for the inclusion of the State Intelligence Agency (BIN) in the investigation to uncover the extent of the counterfeit drug-trading network, as it has the structural and systematic capacity that BPOM simply does not have. Once uncovered, key actors should placed on a 'black-list', which will prevent them from ever dabbling in drug counterfeiting.

"The public should also be educated, so they could spot counterfeit drugs in the market more easily," said Sularsih.

Danang Firmanto

You can find older posts regarding ASEAN politics and economics news at SBC blog, and older posts regarding health and healthcare at IIMS blog. I thank you.

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