Some valsartan medicines recalled amid impurity concerns

Henrietta Brewer
July 13, 2018

The drugs are manufactured by five companies whose valsartan was supplied by China-based Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceuticals.

Simultaneously, the administration also suspended the use of Valsartan in producing medicines and is conducting research on the use and impact of Valsartan to ensure patients' safety and follow the procedures for changing drug registration dossiers as regulated. The valsartan used in those products had an impurity known as N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA). Health Canada describes NDMA as "a potential human carcinogen, which means that it could cause cancer with long-term exposure".

Other medicines containing valsartan are not affected.

Valsartan, a drug widely used to control blood pressure is being recalled in several countries around the world because of its chemical ingredient possibly linking to cancer.

"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", Nakhla said. Patients that have had a recent heart attack or heart failure also use these drugs. The recall was issued after the Ministry's senior officials reviewed Ministerial Resolution No. (366) of 2010 governing the withdrawal, suspension, or prevention of distribution of pharmaceutical and medical products to protect public health. The company says that "no other Sandoz or Novartis products, even those that may contain valsartan, are affected by the recall". He said that Health Canada is "extra cautious, because there was some sort of negative lab result". Andre specializes in environmental health, but writes on a variety of issues.

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