What is Valsartan
Valsartan is an active ingredient in several prescription medications used to treat high blood pressure and other heart conditions. It works by blocking angiotensin II, a peptide hormone that results in constriction of the blood vessels which in turn causes high blood pressure. Valsartan has been shown to be highly effective and quickly became one of the most prescribed blood pressure medications worldwide.
What is the Problem with Valsartan?
In 2018, a leading manufacturer of generic Valsartan, Zhejiang HuaHai Pharmaceuticals, determined that some of their Valsartan was contaminated with NDMA (N-Nitrosodimethylamine). NDMA is a known carcinogen meaning it can cause cancer in humans. Animal studies have shown NDMA to be a carcinogen capable of causing:
- Colorectal Cancer
- Gastric Cancer
- Kidney Cancer
- Liver Cancer
- Lung Cancer
The amount of NDMA in Valsartan was above an acceptable or safe level. The contaminated medications were distributed to pharmaceutical companies throughout the United States. The FDA believes the contamination occurred due to a change in the manufacturing process, which was implemented in approximately 2012, that altered the method of synthesizing the drug. The FDA’s statement noted, “The presence of NDMA was unexpected and is thought to be related to changes in the way the active substance was manufactured.” Sadly, for years, the contamination went unnoticed. This contamination occurred in Valsartan manufacturing plants in both China and India.
In July 2018, the FDA issued a recall of several drugs in which Valsartan was an active ingredient. Since that time there have also been additional recalls that expanded upon both the products and manufacturers. In fact, the FDA has placed an import alert on the manufacturing plants at issue to stop both the ingredients and finished drugs from entering the United States. Nonetheless, it is vitally important that you check your prescriptions containing Valsartan with your pharmacist and healthcare provider to ensure they are not part of the recent recalls.
Even if you believe you are taking a recalled Valsartan prescription, it is extremely important that you do not abruptly stop your medication. Instead, immediately contact your doctor to discuss alternative medication options.
If you were taking a recalled Valsartan prescription and developed cancer, our attorneys are available to discuss your potential claim. Claims are being filed against the manufacturers and distributors of medications containing Valsartan. In February 2019, an MDL (multi-district litigation) for Valsartan medications was created in the United States District Court of New Jersey. Lawsuits are often the only way for people to hold pharmaceutical companies accountable. The injury attorneys at Anapol Weiss will fight on your behalf for fair compensation. Call our office today to set up your free consultation.