Published: Sun, July 08, 2018
Medicine | By Douglas Stevenson

Morocco Finds Cancer-Linked Substance in Chinese Blood Pressure Medicine

Morocco Finds Cancer-Linked Substance in Chinese Blood Pressure Medicine

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is reviewing medicines containing the active ingredient Valsartan supplied by a facility in China, after a potentially carcinogenic impurity was detected in it. This active substance is used in a number of medicines marketed in Europe.

A number of high blood pressure and heart drugs containing an ingredient made in China are being recalled across Europe after an impurity that may cause cancer was found in them, officials said on Thursday.

A spokesperson for Celesio - parent company of Lloydspharmacy and wholesaler AAH - has confirmed its pharmacies have removed the affected products, in line with MHRA advice.

The Health Products Regulatory authority says patients should not stop taking medicines containing valsartan but should go to their pharmacist or doctor immediately to discuss treatment.

"People taking valsartan medication affected by this recall are advised to not stop taking their medication, but to speak to their doctor or healthcare professional who can advise on alternative treatment", said Dr Sam Atkinson, MHRA's Director of the Inspection, Enforcement and Standards Division.

Valsartan is an important prescription medicine used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure. The agency's Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP), is reviewing the possible impact of NDMA on patients and what steps can be taken to eliminate the impurity from future batches of product.

In addition to working closely with the European regulatory network on the investigation, the HPRA is informing all stakeholders including the Department of Health, the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland (PSI), the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP) and other healthcare professionals of this ongoing regulatory action.

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