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Jul 24, 2018

Blood Pressure and Heart Failure Meds Recalled

Chrystal Samouge

A common drug used to control hypertension and help prevent heart failure is being voluntarily recalled in more than twenty-two countries because the drug contains a chemical that poses a potential cancer risk. Locally, the Ministry of Health is alerting healthcare professionals and patients of a precautionary recall of several prescription drugs containing the active ingredient, valsartan.  The versions of valsartan that are being removed from shelves are made by Denk Germany, Actavis UK and and Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries Ltd.  Pharmacies are also being asked to stop supplying the product and immediately return the stock to their supplier. News Five spoke with Chrystal Samouge of the Pharmacy Unit at the Ministry of Health about the product recall.

 

On the Phone: Chrystal Samouge, Asst. Procurement Manager, Pharmacy Unit, MOH

“The recall is for some medication which contains the active ingredient valsartan. We were alerted to the fact that some valsartan containing product may contain an impurity NDMA. We were alerted ten days ago and since then we have been working along with importers and wholesalers to identify exactly where the medication may have been distributed and to ensure that we get the medications off the shelves.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Have you guys been able to determine how much of the medication may have been distributed?”

 

On the Phone: Chrystal Samouge

“At the moment what we have recalled is about twelve different products which contain valsartan. It is an ongoing process and we are monitoring the situation and as soon as we get information on which manufacturers and which products and batches may have been affected – this is information constantly being updated and so we are monitoring to see what products may have been affected, what products  may need to be recalled. At the moment we have recalled twelve products with valsartan in it.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“So, are we certain that the products that we have removed so far have been identified as those that must be recalled?”

 

On the Phone: Chrystal Samouge

“They have been identified as possibly contaminated with the NDMA. As it relates to the advice to patients, we are not advising patients to panic or stop their medications if they are on any product which contains valsartan. What we are advising them to do is to speak with their health care provider so they can visit their doctor or pharmacist and they can carry their medication and get it reviewed to have the doctor or pharmacist identify if it is one of the products that may have been affected.”

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