TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Over the past few months, several popular heart and high blood pressure drugs have been recalled after they were discovered to contain potential cancer-causing particles.
The Ministry of Health and Welfare’s Food and Drug Administration inspected 142 active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) and 53 imported prepared medicines. The administration found 43 contained animal carcinogens of the type N-Nitrosodimethylamine or N-Nitrosodiethylamine, although not all the drugs that were recalled have been tested yet, NOWnews reports.
Head of the administration’s pharmaceutical group Hung Kuo-teng (洪國登) said the products in question have been assessed in line with international standards, and five APIs in popular heart medications, namely Valsartan, Losartan, Irbesartan, Olmesartan and Candesartan contained harmful components and have been taken under further investigation.
The 11 pharmaceutical companies that sold products containing carcinogens were all subdivisions of six larger holdings, four of which were from China, two from India.
Kuo pointed out that N-Nitrosodimethylamine and N-Nitrosodiethylamine are animal carcinogens and research has not yet indicated whether they are harmful to the human body or not.
The International Pharmaceutical Federation said the presence of the impurities may be related to the manufacturing process and is likely unintended.