Health Canada has issued a recall of several medicines Valsartan last month due to a contamination by a molecule potentially carcinogenic.
Anxiety reigns among the patients taking drugs to basis of Valsartan. Many decry the opacity of the pharmaceutical companies in regard to the origin of the drugs they consume on a daily basis and wonder about the way in which the link between the recall of the drugs by Health Canada and patients.
“It is hard to find “, starts from the outset, Denis Fog, a resident of the eastern Townships who takes Valsartan for “pressure” since 2015.
The man says he has struggled to understand whether that drug was recalled or not when Health Canada has issued a recall of several medicines Valsartan last month due to a contamination by a molecule potentially carcinogenic.
“When I looked at the notice, I saw that the medicine that I was taking was there, so it worried me. After the fact, I realized that the DIN [identification number of a drug] was different, so that my medication was not the subject of a recall, but frankly, it is difficult to find, ” said Mr Fog.
“I wonder why my pharmacist I was not called to tell me that the medication I’m taking is correct. It would have saved me a lot of stress and anxiety “, he adds. He laments the fact of having taken knowledge of the recall in the media rather than from the mouth of his pharmacist.
Pierre Chevrier, of Sutton, for his part, received a phone call from their pharmacist to inform them of the recall. “He communicated with me before I renew my prescription, and asked me to bring my pills to the pharmacy,” says the man, who takes on a drug-based Valsartan from “years” to treat his high blood pressure.
His pharmacist has finally replaced his drug by an equivalent, Telmisartan, produced by the company Apotex.
“I wrote to Apotex to know where were the ingredients of their drug and I got no response,” said Mr. Chevrier, who has also posed the question to their pharmacist, without an answer. “He told me that he was going to ask the pharmaceutical sales representative, but he didn’t look convinced,” he says.
“I’m angry, that’s for sure. I find it curious that the food industry is passed to the comb and that we can know the origin of all the food products we consume so that it is quite different for the pharmaceutical industry “, he adds.
At the Institute of cardiology of Montreal, the recall-based drug Valsartan affects many patients : “It affects us a lot now,” says the pharmacist, Denis Brouillette.
“The problem is mainly to find equivalent drugs, particularly for people who suffer from heart failure,” he says. It is more difficult to find alternatives for these patients because there is no “marker of response” to treatment, in contrast to hypertension, ” he says.
I find it curious that the food industry is passed to the comb and that we can know the origin of all the food products we consume so that it is quite different for the pharmaceutical industry
— Pierre Chevrier
In addition, other molecules available have not all been tested for heart failure, ” explains the pharmacist. “In some cases, all we can do is try to reproduce what has been done in a clinical study. “
The act 41 and now allows pharmacists to write prescriptions, which makes it so that they can change the medication to a patient without a doctor.
“However, we are required to do a follow-up to the meaning of the act. Most of the time, it is done in concert with the treating physician. “
Denis Brouillette said he did not know for the moment if the Montreal heart Institute will continue to prescribe medicines on basis of Valsartan. “It is a great medicine, this is the one which deals most effectively with a multitude of problems. However, I understand that some patients may have lost confidence. “
However, he adds that it is important to understand that what is happening in this moment is ” unique and extremely rare “. According to him, the quality controls are typically at all levels in the production of a drug. “The origin of [geographic] with a molecule of a drug is not an indicator of its quality or not. “
Other laboratories chinese pinned
Two new laboratories chinese, Rundu Pharma and Tianyu Pharm, have announced that the Valsartan that they exported to Taiwan contained traces of N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), a substance considered probably carcinogenic in the case of prolonged use.
Tianyu Pharm has assured that the problem lots had been intercepted before distribution to patients. Rundu Pharma, for its part, has indicated that these products are the subject of a recall in Taiwan.
The titles of the two groups had collapsed by 10 % on Monday to the Shenzhen stock Exchange, the decline in daily maximum allowed, according to Agence France-Presse.
Health Canada attempts to determine if these laboratories have provided the Valsartan to the canadian market. Another reminder will be issued, if applicable.
The pharmaceutical company, Sandoz Canada has confirmed that none of its products came from these two laboratories chinese.
What is the DIN ?
The identification number of a drug (DIN) is an eight digit number assigned by Health Canada before they can be marketed in this country. The DIN is unique and serves to identify all drug products sold in a dosage form. It is listed on the label of a prescription drug or a nonprescription drug (ex : Advil, Tylenol, etc). The DIN uniquely identifies the following characteristics : the name of the manufacturer, the product name, the ingredients, the strength of the medicinal ingredient, the dosage form and the route of administration.