Blood pressure drug recalls — an update on Valsartan


In our Access members newsletter (paywall) yesterday, we covered the recalls of the blood pressure medicine Valsartan because of a carcinogen found in an ingredient produced by Chinese suppliers Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceuticals, Tianyu Pharmaceutical, and Rundu Pharma.

If you take this medicine, the American FDA has updated its recall and also published a list of Valsartan products not currently recalled. If you are outside the United States, call the supplier, as the batch numbers are different and the FDA lists may not apply to your country.

The FDA is now saying that based on manufacturer records “of the recalled valsartan, some levels of the impurity may have been in the valsartan-containing products for as long as four years,” according to website Fierce Pharma. However, the risk to users of the affected batches is relatively slight:

FDA scientists estimate that if 8,000 people took the highest valsartan dose (320 mg) from the recalled batches every day for the full four years, there may be one additional case of cancer over the lifetimes of those 8,000 people.

In the Chinese media, the only news stories I can find about the recalls are about the share prices of the three affected Chinese companies — see, for example, the top results for a Baidu News search for 缬沙坦 (xié shā tǎn — Valsartan): every single result is a report on stock market reactions to the affair.