The attorneys at Montgomery & Ponder, LLC continue to investigate cases of contaminated valsartan pills prescribed for high blood pressure. In July 2018 the FDA announced the carcinogen NDMA had been found in the widely used generic blood-pressure medication valsartan. The recall has been expanded 51 times to include two other drugs, irbesartan and losartan. These drugs are made by at least 10 companies, and drugs sold to millions of people in 30 countries could be tainted. NDMA is a substance used in research facilities to induce cancer in lab rats. Individual claims in cases related to contamination allege serious injuries such as liver damage and various cancers including liver, kidney, colorectal, and gastric cancers.
Bloomberg reports that “[s]ome of the contaminated valsartan contains as much as 17 micrograms of NDMA in a single pill. That’s equivalent to eating 48 pounds of bacon.” The report further states, “90% of all medications prescribed to Americans are generics. They’re cheaper, they’re supposed to work the same way, and they receive less scrutiny right from the start…[t]he FDA checks less than 1% of drugs for impurities or potency before letting them into the country.” At least 80% of all active pharmaceutical ingredients are made in Chinese and Indian factories, and are completely separated from the American patients that will be consuming them.
A situation has developed where manufacturers cannot be expected to catch every single impurity in drugs that they produce in such high volumes. Coupled with this, the FDA does not test a high amount of drugs that come in, which leads to impurities in generics like valsartan. “Valsartan is just the one we caught,” says David Gortler, a former FDA medical officer and now a consultant focusing on drug safety. “Who knows how many more are out there?” Recalls continue, and so long as the FDA continues to allow foreign made generic drugs to enter the country with little scrutiny, American consumers will be at risk.
If you or a loved one have been injured or developed cancer as a result of the blood pressure medication valsartan, please contact the attorneys at Montgomery & Ponder, LLC at (205) 377-5004.