TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Four brands of drugs made in China and supposed to lower blood pressure were removed from shelves in Taiwan because they were suspected of containing cancer-causing ingredients, the Central News Agency reported Thursday.
The questions about the drugs began last month, when types of valsartan produced in China by Huahai Pharmaceutical (華海製藥公司), based in the province of Zhejiang, were questioned. Thursday’s report by the Food and Drug Administration named similar pills produced by Rundu Pharma (潤都製藥公司) in Zhuhai, in the province of Guangdong.
According to the order to remove the drugs from sale Thursday, a total of more than 24 million pills might be affected, CNA reported.
While research in the European Union brought the presence of potentially carcinogenous NDMA to light in the Huahai products, it was a Taiwanese investigation which uncovered the same element in the pills made by Rundu.
The FDA said the recall of the problem drugs might take up to a month to complete. Users of the blood pressure drugs were asked not just to stop taking them, but even more important, to head back to consult their doctor on how to replace the potentially problematic pills. Stopping taking the Chinese valsartan pills altogether might lead to higher blood pressure and to likely even larger health problems, CNA reported.