Recall of Chinese medication for high blood pressure linked to cancer

Another blow strikes at the credibility of Chinese pharmaceutical companies. The authorities issue recall of medication with active ingredient Valsartan, produced by Huahai Pharmaceutical. The substance is linked to cancer. Medicines are also on sale in Europe, North America and South America.

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) - A Chinese pharmaceutical company has recalled its products after discovering that some batches contained a carcinogen substance.

Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceutical produces the active substance Valsartan. This is used in some generics drugs to treat high blood pressure and avoid complications such as heart attack and stroke.

The company had to suspend its supplies after traces of N-nitrosodimethylammmine (NDMA) were found in the active ingredient. NDMA is classified as carcinogenic.

In addition to Valsartan, Valsartan/Hydrochlorothiazide was also recalled. Last year, Huahai sales topped US$ 49 million, mainly in North America, Europe, India, Russia and South America.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a voluntary recall of the medication distributed by Major Pharmaceuticals, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and Solco Healthcare.

Germany, Italy, Finland and Australia also recalled the medications that include Valsartan.

Despite the possible danger to health, the FDA said that patients must continue with the medicine until they have a replacement as Valsartan is used to treat serious medical conditions and patients cannot stop taking medication without another valid prescription.