Valsartan is a safe and effective anti-hypertensive

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 Valsartan is a safe and
effective anti-hypertensive

KARACHI: Leading cardiologists, diabetologists and pharmacists have clarified that medicines used for the treatment of blood pressure and cardiovascular disease including Valsartan were not causing cancer and urged people to continue taking the drug if their physicians and pharmacists had asked them to take it regularly. To elaborate on  the misconception about recall of Valsartan by the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP), Pakistan Society of Health System Pharmacists (PSHP) arranged a press conference at Karachi press Club on  July 21st, 2018 which was addressed by PSHP President Abdul Latif Shaikh, Dr. Ashar Fawad from Baqai Institute of Diabetology and Endocrinology (BIDE), Community Pharmacist from Al-Khidmat Hospital Zaad Hashmi and Arif Ali Arain, Sindh President of Pakistan Pharmacists Federation (PPF).

Speaking at the occasion experts said that  rumors being spread in the country that medicines for the treatment of high blood pressure were causing cancer, which they termed untrue and urged patients to continue taking their medicines including Valsartan as it was quite safe and ‘drug of choice’ for millions of patients in the world including Pakistan.

President of the PSHP, Mr.  Abdul Latif Shaikh also endorsed the assertion that Valsartan was a safe drug for the patients and advised people to have trust on their doctors as well as pharmacists as strict monitoring was being carried out on the safety of drugs in Pakistan. Abdul Latif Shaikh claimed that NDMA found in the raw material of a particular Chinese company was in such a minute quantity that it could not cause cancer but still that all the medicine prepared from Chinese Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API) was recalled, which was a precautionary and commendable step but added that misreporting of the issue resulted in creating misconceptions in the minds of people about Valsartan and other medicines used for the treatment of hypertension.

“Valsartan is a very safe and effective medicine for the treatment of high blood pressure and it is not causing cancer. There was a precautionary recall of some of the valsartan prepared through raw material imported from a Chinese company and the issue is now settled. If a doctor prescribes Valsartan for the treatment of hypertension, patient should follow his advice.

Dr. Fawad Farooq said this issue surfaced when European Medicine Agency (EMA) called for a precautionary recall of Valsartan prepared from raw material imported from a particular Chinese company and following EMA’s action, Pakistani drug regulatory authorities also asked local companies to recall their products which had been prepared from the Chinese company’s raw material. Actually the Chinese company’s product had an impurity in very minute quantity, which is known as NDMA. Lab tests showed that this impurity could cause cancer to animals but there is no study available on its effects to humans”, he said and added that as a precautionary measure, Pakistani authorities also recalled all the Valsartan which had been prepared through that particular Chinese company’s raw material.

To a query, he said Valsartan was a very safe medicine for the treatment of blood pressure and hundreds of thousands of patients were using it daily for controlling their blood pressure. “I would advise people not to take decisions based on rumors and continue taking their medicine if doctors and pharmacists have prescribed these to them”, he advised. Dr. Ashar Fawad further stated that there was ‘no ban’ on Valsartan or any other medicine for the treatment of high blood pressure in Pakistan and advised people to take this medicine if their doctor had advised them to take it regularly. (PR)

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