Drugs containing valsartan are used to treat patients with high blood pressure to help prevent heart attacks and stroke. The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety banned the import and sale of 115 hypertension drugs out of fear that they might contain carcinogenic ingredients.
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.
The ban followed a recall order made by the European Medicines Agency last week after it found NDMA in Valsartan made by Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceutical in China.
The recall was first issued on July 9th by the federal agency. The company says that "no other Sandoz or Novartis products, even those that may contain valsartan, are affected by the recall". The agency also said that everyone that takes medication which contains valsartan should continue taking it unless their doctor or pharmacist tells them to stop.
In the United Kingdom, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is working with pharmacies to recall the affected medicines but have also stated the importance of patients continuing their treatment but to seek advice from a healthcare professional immediately.
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The medications contain the ingredient "valsartan" which was found in some products to have an impurity called N-Nitrosodimethylamine, a potential human carcinogen that could cause cancer with long-term exposure.
While the review is underway, national authorities across the European Union are recalling medicines containing valsartan supplied by Zhejiang Huahai.
On Saturday, the Health Insurance Review & Assessment Service revised its Drug Utilization Review, a computerized pharmaceutical review system that oversees prescriptions, to display an on-screen warning when doctors try to prescribe a banned drug on their computers.
"It is vital that patients taking valsartan medication affected by this recall do not stop taking their medication abruptly and consult with their doctor or healthcare professional as soon as possible for alternative treatment", according to the Inspectorate of Health.