A life-saving blood pressure medication may have a life threating side effect, cancer. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a recall of certain drugs containing valsartan, commonly used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure, because of a potential cancer risk.
What is Valsartan?
Valsartan-based drugs are prescribed to treat high blood pressure and congestive heart failure and are often taken after a heart attack. The drug blocks certain substances in the body that cause blood vessels to constrict and tighten and lowers blood pressure while increasing the supply of blood and oxygen to the heart.
Why was Valsartan Recalled?
In July of 2018, FDA began the voluntary valsartan recall when it was found the recalled drugs were contaminated with N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA). According to the FDA, “NDMA is classified as a probable human carcinogen (a substance that could cause cancer) based on results from laboratory tests.”
NDMA is an organic chemical used to make liquid rocket fuel, softeners, and lubricants, among other products. The FDA said, “the presence of NDMA was unexpected and is thought to be related to changes in the way the active substance was manufactured.”
Symptoms of exposure to high levels of NDMA may include headaches, fever, nausea, vomiting, and reduced function and damage to the kidneys, liver, and lungs as well as a risk of certain types of cancer.
The recalled Valsartan was manufactured in China by Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. To date, the FDA has recalled valsartan products from Major Pharmaceuticals, Solco Healthcare, and Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries, as well as valsartan/hydrochlorothiazide from Solco and Teva.
In addition to the FDA recall, several other countries issued recalls for some 2,300 valsartan batches sent to Canada, Germany, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Hungary, Spain, the Netherlands, Ireland, Austria, Italy, Bulgaria, Portugal, France, Belgium, Croatia, Poland, Lithuania, Greece, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bahrain and Malta.
How can Meyers & Flowers help?
Meyers & Flowers has extensive experience with cases involving dangerous drugs, such as valsartan. Our medical malpractice and personal injury lawyers understand the many complex legal and scientific issues relating to a recalled pharmaceutical and have helped thousands of clients who have been injured or, in some cases killed, due to hazardous drugs.
We understand successful litigation depends on deep familiarity with not only the technical aspects of the case but also with how to properly present that information during each step of a legal proceeding from the initial filing to the jury summation.
If you or a family member have been taking the recalled valsartan-based drugs and have been diagnosed with cancer, the Meyers & Flowers legal team can help.