Another batch of valsartan recalled over carcinogenic concerns

Valsartan a common heart disease drug is being recalled across Europe because it contains a chemical that has the potential to cause cancer

The recall affects several drugs containing the ingredient valsartan, Health Canada announced Tuesday.

The Ministry of Health and Prevention said the recall is a precautionary measure following a report issued by the European Medicines Agency. 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".

The next step for the EMA is to conduct a review of the situation, including determining the levels of NDMA in the products, understanding how this may have affected patients and planning methods to eliminate or reduce such contamination in the future.

"Patients should not stop taking their medicine if it contains valsartan unless they've been specifically instructed to do so by their prescriber or pharmacist", Nakhla said.

Health Canada says patients taking the drug should check with their pharmacists to learn if their medicine is being recalled.

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"Despite the lack of conclusive evidence on whether NDMA is present in these products or whether they are truly risky, these measures were undertaken to pre-emptively protect consumers", a spokesman for the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety said on Saturday.

Valsartan is used to treat hypertension and can prevent cardiovascular complications associated with the condition. The 219 drugs containing Chinese-made Valsartan are among 571 available drugs in Korea that contain the ingredient coming from other countries.

The agency listed 28 impacted products containing valsartan being recalled by their manufacturers.

"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", asserted Dr Sam Atkinson, MHRA's director of the Inspection, Enforcement and Standards Division.

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.

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