Your medication may have already given you cancer without your knowledge

The global projection of cancer increased significantly over an 8 year period and the circulation of 5 of China’s cancer-causing blood pressure medication Valsartan, would see a further increase in the already alarming number of persons projected to be diagnosed with cancer.

In July, Nigeria joined 22 other countries including the United States and Europe to recall China’s generic drug Valsartan after a global exporter of drugs, Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceutical raised an alarm that the drug which is mainly used for treatment of high blood pressure, congestive heart failure and prescribed to patience after a heart attack to increases the chances of living longer after a heart attack was tainted by carcinogenic N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA).

Huahai voluntarily suspended its supplies in the international market after detecting the impurity in the product and implored other countries to stop prescription of the blood pressure drug pending when investigations are carried out.

This is a second time there has been a global outrage of impurity and cancer-causing elements in drugs made by Chinese manufacturers. Carcinogenic NDMA is used to make liquid rocket fuel, softeners and lubricants among other products. It can be unintentionally produced through certain chemical reactions and is a byproduct from some pesticide. It was found in blood pressure drugs and previously in children’s vaccine.

In 2010, valsartan achieved annual sales of $2.052 billion in the United States and $6.053 billion worldwide. In the same year, about 1.6 million new cancer cases were projected to be diagnosed as against the 1.2 million expected cases a decade ago.

In 2017, Shanghai-listed company and an active producer valsartan substances, Huahai recorded increased sales worth over US$49 million from its exports to America, Europe and Africa. In 2017, Huahai sold over $20 million of its valsartan contained drugs were sold and over US$11 million have been sold the first half of 2018 in United States alone.

Over 300,000 persons have been estimated to be affected by the valsartan-containing drugs. Adding to National Cancer Institutes estimated 1.7 million people projected to be diagnosed with cancer this 2018.

With cancer expectations on the increase and carcinogenic NDMA contained valsartan in the patients drug cabinet, experts have advised patients prescribed with the drug to continue taking their medicine until they have a replacement product to prevent complications thereby increasing the chances of getting carcinogens into the blood streams.

Recalled products

  • Valsartan from major pharmacueticals
  • Valsartan from Solco Healthcare
  • Valsartan from Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries LTD
  • Valsartan/Hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ) from Solco Healthcare
  • Valsartan/Hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ) from Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries LTD