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The discovery of several carcinogenic impurities in high blood pressure medications has sparked one of the largest prescription drug recalls in years. Valsartan is one of the most widely prescribed medications to treat high blood pressure. In addition to hypertension, both drugs treat patients with heart failure and those who have experienced a heart attack. Despite their widespread use, a valsartan recall went into effect in July 2018 because of traceable amounts of the carcinogen (N-Nitrosodimethylamine) NDMA. The Carlson Law Firm is currently investigating several claims that valsartan led to cancer. If you have received a tumor, cancer or liver damage diagnosis after taking valsartan, contact us. We can help you file a valsartan recall lawsuit.
For more than 40 years, The Carlson Law Firm has represented thousands of people against the negligence of big pharmaceutical companies. In many cases, businesses put profits over the health and safety of the people their medications are supposed to help. This is never OK. Civil lawsuits against companies that don’t prioritize your safety are a deterrent for wrongdoing and serve as a way to ensure that companies are held accountable. These lawsuits also ensure that you are getting the justice you deserve for any damages the drug caused you.
If you received a cancer or liver damage diagnosis after taking Valsartan, contact us to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. 
When did the High Blood Pressure Medication Recall Begin?
On July 13, 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a press release about voluntary recalls of several drug products containing the ingredient Valsartan. The recall came on the heels of the agency finding a carcinogenic impurity, NDMA in the ingredient. At the time, the FDA warned that the chemical might have been in valsartan-containing drugs for as many as four years. In the initial release, the FDA was very clear that not all products containing valsartan were under recall. The recall was confined to products manufactured in Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceuticals in Linhai, China.
What is Valsartan?
Valsartan is a generic prescription antihypertension drug used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure. In those with heart failure, the drug lowers the chance of having to go to the hospital for heart failure. The drug belongs to a class of drugs called angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs).
The drug works by relaxing blood pressure vessels to that the blood can flow easily.
Doctors prescribe the drug to adults and children who are at least six years old. Sometimes the drugs are given in combination with other blood pressure medications.
The Valsartan Recall
In the summer of 2018, a voluntary recall from three companies recalled products containing valsartan. Major Pharmaceuticals, Solco Healthcare, and Texas Pharmaceutical Industries recalled the drug after the FDA found and impurity that poses a potential cancer risk. Upon facility inspection and testing, the FDA found that a change in the manufacture of Valsartan led to the formation of N-Nitrodoimethylamine (NDMA). The company’s issued the recalls at the FDA’s request. Experts believe a change in the manufacturing process is the reason for NDMA’s presence.
Eventually, the Valsartan recall spread to include other drugs. As of March 2019, almost 90 drugs are part of the high blood pressure medication recall.
If you or a loved one received a cancer diagnosis after taking valsartan, contact The Carlson Law Firm. We can help you decide if filing a valsartan recall lawsuit is the right step for you.
Is Valsartan carcinogenic?
Yes. Valsartan contains N-Nitrodoimethylamine (NDMA), a carcinogenic substance that research links to several types of cancer. While some agencies warn that there is little concern for those taking the drug developing cancer, that is not true. Hundreds have already begun looking to taking action against major drug companies for cancer diagnosis, as well as failure to alert the public on the dangers of these drugs.
Given the FDA’ belief that NDMA has been present in the drug since at least 2012, as a result of manufacturing changes, it is possible for heart and hypertensive patients to have been unknowingly ingesting the carcinogen for at least six years.
What is Irbesartan?
Irbesartan went under voluntary recall in October 2018, after trace amounts of NDEA were found. The recall expanded in 2019 to cover additional lots of irbesartan blood pressure medication. Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceuticals in China made Irbesartan products. ZHP is also the manufacturer at the center of valsartan products.
Which Impurities Were Found in High Blood Pressure Medications?
By definition, an impurity is something that ruins the uncontaminated nature of something. There are good impurities and bad impurities. An example of a good impurity is adding lemons and sugar to water to make lemonade. On the other hand, the nitrosamine impurities found in high blood pressure medication are unwanted.
What are Nitrosamines?
Generally, nitrosamine compounds are chemical compounds from the nitroso group bonded to an amine. Most of these compounds are carcinogenic.
The manufacture of cosmetics, pesticides and most products made from rubber often include nitrosamine as an ingredient. Nitrosamines can form unintentionally. For example, when nitrosamines occur in food, it is typically from high temperatures such as frying, which enhances the formation of nitrosamines. Nitrosamines occur in beer, fish, meat and cheese products, as well as tobacco products.
The nitrosamine compounds found in valsartan are carcinogenic. Experts believe that these chemicals are an unintended byproduct of the manufacturing process. Since finding NDMA in valsartan, the FDA has continued to oversee a major investigation in high blood pressure medication impurities. In addition to NDMA, this investigation has found two other nitrosamine impurities in hypertension medications.
N-Nitrodoimethylamine is a human carcinogen that the hypertension drug valsartan unintentionally contains. The organic chemical forms in both industrial and natural processes. In fact, the chemical is an ingredient in liquid rocket fuel, softeners, lubricants, and several other products. The unintentional creation of NDMA can occur through specific chemical reactions. It is often the byproduct of pesticide and tire manufacturing, as well as fish processing.
So far, studies have linked NDMA to the following:
- Liver cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Colorectal cancer
- Stomach cancer
Additionally, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, high-level NDMA exposure in humans causes liver damage in humans.