Catholic doctors call for action on pills after 68 hospitalised


Catholic doctors have asked the Indonesian government to take action to stop the abuse of pills containing a combination of paracetamol, carisoprodol and caffeine (PCC).

At least  68 young people were hospitalised on the island of Sulawesi last week after taking these pills. Two children died.

“It was relaxing as if I was flying. After that, I lost consciousness. When I came to again, I found myself lying here,” a 16-year told last Wednesday.

Despite being illegal, the pills are widely distributed in many parts of Indonesia through drugstores and markets. They are ostensibly for the relief pain including headaches and toothache.

20 pills can commonly be purchased for just US$2.

“The government should stop its distribution,” said Doctor Felix Gunawan, director of the Association of Voluntary Health Services of Indonesia, an association of Catholic hospitals.

He also called on Catholic hospitals to buy drugs only from official vendors certified by the government’s National Agency for Drug and Food Control.

“Patients who want to buy medicinal drugs must have a prescription from medical doctors,” he told on 20 September.

Pharmaceutical observer Anthony Charles Sunarjo said the effects of PCC pills if used in excess will make users hallucinate and lose control of their behaviour.

On September 18-19 police confiscated more than 100,000 pills from several locations and closed down Central and West Java factories which produce them.

They have arrested dozens of suspected dealers of the illegal medication in Kendari, capital of Southeast Sulawesi province.

They face up to 15 years in prison if convicted.



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News category: Asia Pacific.

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