Ministry recalls some medicines containing valsartan over cancer fears

13 July, 2018, 14:56 | Author: Sherman Richardson
  • The recall is on medication containing valsartan which is used to treat high blood pressure.					Courtesy of Hope Litoff

They are also used by patients who have had heart failure or a recent heart attack.

The recall affects several drugs containing the ingredient valsartan, Health Canada announced Tuesday.

She continues, explaining that patients should go to the pharmacy and see "if the drugs they're taking are indeed the affected, recalled valsartan products". In connection with this, Swiss multinational pharmaceutical company Novartis informed the Ministry that their products containing Valsartan-Diovan, Co-Diovan Entresto and Exforge-are not impacted because these products do not contain the active ingredient from an external supplier, where the active ingredient was manufactured in a Novartis site in Ireland and Switzerland. The agency said it would evaluate the severity of the problem and the effects that the possible carcinogen might have on patients who are now taking drugs containing Valsartan.

However, not all Valsartan contains the carcinogen, only that made in China, the drug ministry noted.

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Over 484,682 kilograms of Valsartan have been imported to Korea over the last three years, according to the ministry, but only 2.8 percent, or 13,770 kilograms, contain ingredients from China.

A substance in valsartan than is found in some heart and high blood pressure drugs has been linked to cancer.

While the review is underway, national authorities across the European Union are recalling medicines containing valsartan supplied by Zhejiang Huahai. After its announcement on Saturday, the ministry launched on-site investigations of 82 pharmaceutical companies to check whether the drugs contain NDMA. He said the government needs to devise a system to alert patients if unforeseen problems arise concerning their medicine.

EMA's review will investigate the levels of NDMA in these valsartan medicines, its possible impact on patients who have been taking them and what measures can be taken to reduce or eliminate the impurity from future batches produced by the company.

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