Published: Fri, July 13, 2018
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

Some drugs containing valsartan recalled due to potential carcinogen

Some drugs containing valsartan recalled due to potential carcinogen

The MHRA has advised pharmacies to stop supplying the product immediately, and to quarantine all remaining stock and return it to the supplier.

Mina Tadrous, (pharmacy faculty, University of Toronto), explained that valsartan is a common drug used by people with high blood pressure.

Additionally, precautionary measures will be taken by the EMA, which will review other valsartan medicines to ensure they have not also been affected.

The problem was discovered when the European Medicines Agency (EMA) routinely tested batches of valsartan's active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) finding those from the supplier, Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceuticals in Linhai in China to contain impurity.

The announcement follows news last week that the European Medicines Agency launched a recall and review of valsartan-containing drugs. The 219 drugs containing Chinese-made Valsartan are among 571 available drugs in Korea that contain the ingredient coming from other countries.

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"Patients should not stop taking their medicine if it contains valsartan unless they've been specifically instructed to do so by their prescriber or pharmacist". First created and sold as Diovan by the Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis, Valsartan is now present in hundreds of generic drugs after Novartis' patent expired in 2012.

The government said Tuesday it will exempt patients, who have been taking high blood pressure treatment drugs found to contain traces of a possible carcinogen, from paying for doctor's replacement prescriptions.

The drug was developed over 20 years ago by Novartis and since then has been very frequently prescribed to treat patients with high blood pressure.

In addition, the Ministry of Health and Welfare is looking for ways to inform patients of their pharmaceutical history through the Drug Utilization Review software and said it has already granted full health insurance coverage for patients who were taking the contaminated drugs and need alternatives.

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