The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is putting doctors and patients on high alert after several drugs that were made in China were found to contain a possible human carcinogen.
The FDA is still reviewing the recalled products, but in the meantime, three companies based in the US have agreed to stop selling specific medications that contain valsartan – an ingredient commonly used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure.
“We have carefully assessed the valsartan-containing medications sold in the United States, and we’ve found that the valsartan sold by these specific companies does not meet our safety standards,” said Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, in a press release.
“That is why we’ve asked these companies to take immediate action to protect patients.”
To be clear, not all products containing valsartan are being recalled, just the ones that were found to contain N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), which is classified by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a probable human carcinogen.
What’s interesting, however, is that every single one of these contaminated products was made in China by the same company, Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd.
The FDA is warning patients who take valsartan to make sure their medication was not manufactured by the offending company. If the medication’s label does not explicitly name the manufacturer, or if there is any confusion whatsoever, the agency is advising patients to call their pharmacy and make sure their drug is not part of the recall.
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