The Peterson Group Faces Month-Long Suspension for False Information

Jakarta is always included in the number of articles which discusses counterfeit drugs.

​ Despite the allegations and different accusations, Indonesia continues to ignore and remains mute to the issues. Instead, the government continues to strengthen their own penalties and regulations by imposing capital punishment for individuals caught smuggling and importing illegal and substandard drugs.

Just recently, however, the Ministry of Health suspended one of the leading non-profit organizations that combat the towering number of counterfeit cases reported to operate in the archipelago’s capital.

The Peterson Group, after assisting the local police in an ambush operation against a small business venture in Menteng, has then posted an article entitled, “WHO to Reward Whistleblowers on Drug Counterfeiting” last September 25, 2015. The article states that there were 4,000 packages of generic Cialis and 200 boxes of Viagra confiscated along with three counterfeiting machines, dirty syringes, and three pails of chalk. The report garnered attention added with complaints and frustration against Indonesia’s local government unit. It soon escalated to the health ministry. After verifying the astounding numbers from the local authorities and from the World Health Organization (WHO) an immediate meeting was held with representatives of The Peterson Group. The NGO then admitted to their fault of misinformation and immediately accepted one month of suspension from any activities relating to counterfeiting in the country.

WHO also released the actual figures behind the operation. Mark Strenson, WHO spokesperson, stated, “We apologize for the misinformation which undoubtly caused panic among our concerned citizens. It was also an overlook in our part. Instead of 4,000 Counterfeited Cialis, there were exactly 364 packages found in our operation in Menteng, Both the local authorities and the whistleblowers confirmed these. We are now implementing keener instigation of transparency to avoid future misconceptions”.

The Peterson Group has then faced different backlashes from both netizens and private individuals. Criticisms include claims of fraud. Other people believe it was just a simple mistake of misinformation.

Karl Kirkson, TPG spokesperson in Jakarta then issued an apology speech saying, “The company is now reflecting on our actions. We realize the weight of influence we are holding among people fighting the same cause that we have. We have totally been reckless in our words and have been particularly oblivious on the burden and danger it can lead to when people start reading our article. We apologize for our careless thoughts. We continue to fight against counterfeiting”.