FDA Recalls Several Medicines Containing Valsartan After Detection Of Impurity

by Kim Boateng Posted on July 14th, 2018

Silver Spring, Maryland, USA: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, FDA, said that Prinston Pharmaceutical Inc. dba Solco Healthcare LLC. is recalling all lots of Valsartan Tablets, 40 mg, 80mg, 160mg, and 320mg; and Valsartan-Hydrochlorothiazide Tablets, 80mg/12.5mg, 160mg/12.5mg, 160mg/25mg, 320mg/12.5mg, and 320mg/25mg to the retail level.

FDA announced voluntary recall of several drug products containing the active ingredient valsartan, used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure.

FDA said that the recall is due to the detection of a trace amount of an unexpected impurity, N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), made by the manufacturer – Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. This impurity has been classified as a probable human carcinogen as per International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classification.

“This recall is due to an impurity, N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), which was found in the recalled products. However, not all products containing valsartan are being recalled. NDMA is classified as a probable human carcinogen (a substance that could cause cancer) based on results from laboratory tests. The presence of NDMA was unexpected and is thought to be related to changes in the way the active substance was manufactured.” FDA said.

The US recall includes the the versions of valsartan that are made by Major Pharmaceuticals, Solco Healthcare and Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries Ltd. as well as valsartan/hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ) sold by Solco Healthcare and Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries Ltd.

“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 statement.

Information for Patients and Health Care Professionals -FDA

  • Because valsartan is used in medicines to treat serious medical conditions, patients taking the recalled valsartan-containing medicines should continue taking their medicine until they have a replacement product.
  • To determine whether a specific product has been recalled, patients should look at the drug name and company name on the label of their prescription bottle. If the information is not on the bottle, patients should contact the pharmacy that dispensed the medicine.
  • If a patient is taking one of the recalled medicines listed below, they should follow the recall instructions provided by the specific company.
  • Patients should also contact their health care professional (the pharmacist who dispensed the medication or doctor who prescribed the medication) if their medicine is included in this recall to discuss their treatment, which may include another valsartan product not affected by this recall or an alternative treatment option.

The companies listed below are recalling all lots of non-expired products that contain the ingredient valsartan supplied by a third-party. Not all valsartan-containing medicines distributed in the United States have valsartan active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) supplied by this specific company. The supplier has stopped distributing its valsartan API and the FDA is working with the affected companies to reduce or eliminate the valsartan API impurity from future products.

Products Recalled By The FDA

Medicine Company
Valsartan Major Pharmaceuticals
Valsartan Solco Healthcare
Valsartan Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries Ltd.
Valsartan/Hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ) Solco Healthcare
Valsartan/Hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ) Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries Ltd.

“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. This is why we’ve asked these companies to take immediate action to protect patients,” said Janet Woodcock, M.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

The FDA will continue to investigate this issue and provide additional information when it becomes available. The agency encourages patients and health care professionals to report any adverse reaction to the FDA’s MedWatch program.

The FDA’s review is ongoing and has included investigating the levels of NDMA in the recalled products, assessing the possible effect on patients who have been taking them and what measures can be taken to reduce or eliminate the impurity from future batches produced by the company.

“The FDA is committed to maintaining our gold standard for safety and efficacy. That includes our efforts to ensure the quality of drugs and the safe manner in which they’re manufactured,” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. “When we identify lapses in the quality of drugs and problems with their manufacturing that have the potential to create risks to patients, we’re committed to taking swift action to alert the public and help facilitate the removal of the products from the market. As we seek the removal of certain drug products today, our drug shortages team is also working hard to ensure patients’ therapeutic needs are met in the United States with an adequate supply of unaffected medications.”

FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency is also responsible for the safety and security of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.

22 other countries recalled Valsartan because the medicine contains a chemical that poses a potential cancer risk.

Last week 22 other countries recalled Valsartan because the drug contains a chemical that poses a potential cancer risk.

In Europe and Asia, Novartis, the company that originally developed the drug, said Sandoz valsartan and valsartan/HCT film-coated tablets are being recalled because they “do not meet our high quality standards.” Pharmacies in the UK are advised to recall valsartan batches containing medicines made by Dexcel Pharma Ltd and Accord Healthcare.

NDMA is an organic chemical that is in a family of potent carcinogens. It has been used to make liquid rocket fuel, softeners and lubricants, among other products. It can also be unintentionally produced through certain chemical reactions and is a byproduct from some pesticide manufacturing, the making of rubber tires or fish processing.

Animal studies have shown that NDMA can be toxic and cause tumors in the liver, kidney and respiratory tract. It can also be potentially harmful to humans in certain quantities. Exposure to high levels can cause liver damage and is a probable human carcinogen, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services.

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Kim Boateng

Kim Boateng

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