indonesia corners

indonesia corners

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Vaccine Forgery: the New Extraordinary Crime

A big shocking crime spread out throughout the country scaring many citizens mainly parents who have babies and young children. But this time the extraordinary crime doesn’t come from terrorism or narcotic drugs but vaccine forgery. Nobody expects that there can be some human have the heart to fabricate vaccine forgery. The stake is horrifying as it affects the fate of thousands of babies and children and the future generation as a whole. And at everybody surprise, this horrible crime has lasted for more than a decade.

The crime broke out to the grand public when on June 22, 2016 night, police raided a house in Kemang Pratama Regency Real Estate, Bekasi. The homeowner was a married couple arrested under the accusation of vaccine forgery, which they carried out in the house. The couple, H. Taufiqurahman and R. Agustina, had just arrived at home after conducting fasting night prayer (tarawih) in the compound mosque. Investigators found thousands of bottles of vaccine that have been packed in boxes ready for distribution stored in the prayer room and bedroom.

Police have seized a total of 15 suspects of vaccine forgery among other manufacturers, owners of pharmacies, drug stores, distributors, couriers and label printer at several locations, among others Bekasi, East Jakarta, Tangerang, Subang, and Semarang. Police also examine 18 witnesses from hospitals, pharmacies, and drugstores. As a result, it was revealed four hospitals and two pharmacies and a drug store in Jakarta involved in the circulation of fake vaccines.

The perpetrators told the police that they used tetanus fluid mixed with intravenous fluid as the main raw materials of their fake vaccine. Both raw materials were put into bottles with false labels. The sad story continues as the vaccine is not produced in a hygienic laboratory but in a warehouse.

The main question is why the fake vaccine can be distributed without being detected for quite a long time? What the Health Ministry and Drugs and Food Examining Body (BPOM) did for so long time? Those institutions and the government as a whole were accused to be negligent in taking care of public health. Head of BPOM seemed not to take full responsibility on what had happened arguing that their authority so far was limited and wanted it to be widely extended to be able to cope with such crime.

The past experience indicated that even the law enforcers and could be the whole society had looked on the vaccine forgery crime very lightly. Several years ago, one of the perpetrators who was taken into the prison had been sentenced for only one year. And surprisingly there was no reaction from the people against such light verdict for so extraordinary crime.

Numerous mothers were horrified and anxious that their babies and children who had been vaccinated were infused with a fake vaccine and demanded re-vaccination. They have every right to demand such requirement and the government should be positively responsive. Having informed such a horrible crime, President Jokowi outraged and declared that the vaccine forgery was an extraordinary crime. He asked the law enforcer to impose maximum punishment to perpetrators. When asked about the death penalty, Health Minister agreed to implement such a major sentence and their properties to be confiscated. For deterrence, it is quite appropriate if the government implemented sterner punishment to protect the public from such abominable wrongdoing.

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