Health Canada recalls some drugs containing valsartan due to potential carcinogen

Health Canada recalls some drugs containing valsartan due to potential carcinogen

Pharmacies in 22 countries including Germany, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Hungary, the Netherlands, Austria, Ireland, Bulgaria, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, France, Poland, Croatia, Lithuania, Greece, Canada, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bahrain and Malta have been warned and asked to recall products containing Valsartan as a precaution.

The recall came after the detection of a chemical - n-nitrosodimethylamine - that could lead to cancer. This impurity has the potential to cause cancer in humans.

Patients are also advised to speak with a pharmacist who can check if the specific drug someone is taking with the ingredient is being recalled. According to an EMA press release, the presence of NDMA "is thought to be related to changes in the way the active substance was manufactured".

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The Drug Administration under the Ministry of Health on Tuesday tasked all provincial departments of health and medicine manufacturers and pharmacies to suspend the circulation of all types of medicine containing Valsartan by the China-based Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceutical Company indicated in a designated list, the Vietnam News Agency reports. As a precaution, the review will also consider whether other valsartan medicines may be affected.

Valsartan is an angiotensin-II-receptor antagonist used to treat hypertension (high blood pressure), recent heart attack and heart failure. The company says that "no other Sandoz or Novartis products, even those that may contain valsartan, are affected by the recall".

"We will communicate the outcome of our investigations and ensure that any other affected products are recalled".

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