Health Canada Has Issued A Recall For A Life-Saving Medication Because It Contains A Potentially Dangerous Chemical
Health Canada nevertheless recommends that patients continue taking the recalled medicine.
Health Canada has announced voluntary recalls of valsartan products because of the presence of carcinogens. These products include Losartan and other brand names, and they are administered to treat high blood pressure to prevent strokes and heart attacks.
The products were recalled because they were found to contain traces of N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) and other similar impurities. NDMA are proven to be probable human carcinogens.
TL;DR Life-saving drugs administered to patients with high blood pressure have been found to contain NDMA, which is classified as carcinogenous to humans when we are exposed to it for long periods of time. It it not the first time that these drugs, fabricated by the Chinese pharmaceutical company Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceuticals, have been recalled.
Valsartan is manuactured by the Chinese pharmaceutical company Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceuticals. The active ingredient in valsartan is what has been found to contain NDMA.
This is not the first time that these products have been recalled. Last summer it was discovered that the products from Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceuticals contained NDMAs. It has been several months since the carcinogen was discovered, and little has changed since.
According to Health Canada, "since that time, NDMA and other similar impurities [...] have been found in valsartan or other drugs in the same class as valsartan [...] made by several different manufacturers in different countries and has prompted additional recalls in Canada and worldwide."
You can find a complete list of recalled products here.
Because the products are only carcinogenous in the long term, Health Canada recommends that patients stay on their medication unless they have been recommended otherwise by their doctor.
More testing will be done to monitor the issue.