Valsartan and Losartan Drugs Linked to Cancer and Liver Damage
Did you or a loved one develop cancer or liver injuries after taking a medication that contains Valsartan or Losartan? Valsartan and Losartan are popular prescription drugs that are used to treat high blood pressure and heart problems. It has been discovered that some batches of these drugs are contaminated with chemicals that can cause cancer or liver damage. This has prompted the FDA to recall hundreds of products that contain them.
Numerous lawsuits have been filed against drug companies and pharmacies that sold and distributed contaminated batches of Valsartan and Losartan. Reeves and Mestayer is now investigating cases of patients who have suffered damages due to the effects of these contaminated drugs. Call our office today at 1-855-558-2977 to discuss your legal rights and options.
What is Valsartan?
Valsartan, the generic name for Diovan, is an angiotensin II receptor blocker (ARB) that is used in many commonly prescribed drugs to treat high blood pressure and congestive heart failure. Doctors have also prescribed drugs containing the substance to individuals who have had a heart attack, or to those who have kidney problems or type II diabetes.
Valsartan was originally developed by the U.S. pharmaceutical company Novartis and approved for use by the FDA in 1996. At that time, it was sold under the brand name Diovan. Early on, Valsartan showed a lot of promise in treating those who have had or run a high risk of high blood pressure or congestive heart failure.
Valsartan works by effectively blocking angiotensin II, which is the peptide hormone that has been known to cause the blood vessels to become constricted, resulting in hypertension and similar problems. Previous drugs (known as ACE inhibitor drugs) had only been able to stop angiotensin I from converting into angiotensin II. Although there were some conflicting studies and debates among professionals at the time, the ability to block the angiotensin II was seen by many as the most effective method available to treat high blood pressure and heart problems.
Following its release, Valsartan became one of the most widely used prescription drugs on the market for the treatment of high blood pressure and heart problems. By 2010, global sales of the drug had topped $6 billion, and by 2016, it was one of the top 100 most prescribed medications in the United States, with more than 8 million annual prescriptions.
Valsartan Contamination Discovered
Since 2012, most of the Valsartan in the world has been manufactured by Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceutical Company (ZHP) of China. ZHP distributes the drug in the U.S. through a handful of affiliates. In 2017 alone, more than 10 billion pills containing Valsartan were sold worldwide. Valsartan is commonly used as a maintenance drug for individuals with high blood pressure and heart problems, with patients typically taking 1 to 2 pills daily.
In 2018, it was discovered that some batches of Valsartan that were made in China were contaminated with carcinogens. In late June of that year, quality control tests at ZHP revealed that some batches were dangerously contaminated with N-nitrosodimethylamine (NMDA). This was apparently caused by a change in the way the drug was synthesized, which had been adopted by ZHP several years earlier.
NMDA is classified as a carcinogen, because it has been known to cause cancer in humans. In numerous studies with animals, it is been found that the ingestion or exposure of even small amounts of NMDA can cause cancer in the liver, kidneys, and gastrointestinal system.
This is particularly concerning when it comes to the use of Valsartan, because as we mentioned earlier, Valsartan has been commonly used as a maintenance drug, which means that patients typically take one or two pills per day over an extended period of time. Under these conditions, the risk of cancer and other health problems (from the repeated exposure to this carcinogen) is greatly enhanced.
When officials learned of the contaminated batches of Valsartan, all potentially affected versions of the drug were immediately recalled by the FDA and health officials in 20 other countries. Since that time, it has been learned that two other pharmaceutical wholesalers (one in China and one in India) have also produced in batches of the drug containing NMDA.
Losartan Drug Recalled
Following on the heels of the Valsartan recall, Losartan, another popular blood pressure and heart medication, was recalled after batches of it that were sold by Macleods Pharmaceuticals were found to have traces of NMDA. This is one of at least 19 recalls of Losartan by manufacturers over cancer concerns, resulting in multiple lawsuits by patients who have developed cancer because of this drug.
Damages Available for Valsartan and Losartan Lawsuits
Since the NMDA contamination of some batches of Valsartan, Losartan, and similar drugs most likely incurred due to a manufacturing process that was initiated several years earlier, it is very possible that millions of patients may have been exposed to the hazards of these substances.
Contaminated batches of these drug were most likely being produced as early as 2013 or 2014 (or maybe even before), and many patients may have taken one or two pills per day (containing one of these drugs) continuously for a number of years. This type of repeated NMDA exposure has been linked to the following types of cancer:
- Liver Cancer
- Kidney Cancer
- Colorectal Cancer
- Gastric Cancer
If you or someone close to you has taken Valsartan or Losartan continuously for a year or longer, and developed one of the above conditions, you may be entitled to a significant amount of compensation.
There are a wide range of damages that you may be able to recover because of exposure to the toxic batches of Valsartan and Losartan. These include:
- Cost of prescription drugs, cancer treatment, and other medical expenses;
- Loss of present and future earnings due to the illness;
- Physical pain and suffering;
- Psychological distress;
- Diminished quality of life;
- The possibility of punitive damages to punish the manufacturer for their egregious conduct.
Contact Reeves & Mestayer, PLLC Today for your Free Valsartan Lawsuit Consultation
Reeves and Mestayer are investigating cases for individuals who have been diagnosed with one of the forms of cancer listed below following the ingestion of Valsartan, Losartan, Irbesartan and/or Amlodipine/Valsartan combinations:
• Liver cancer
• Cancer located in the Gastrointestinal tract
• Stomach cancer
• Kidney cancer
• Colon cancer
• Liver damage
If you are a loved one is in need of legal assistance, call the experienced Valsartan attorneys at Reeves and Mestayer, PLLC at 228-374-5151, toll free at 1-855-558-2977, or contact us online. The initial consultation is free of charge, and if we agree to handle your case, we will work on a contingency fee basis, which means we get paid for our services only if there is a monetary recovery of funds. In many cases, a lawsuit must be filed before an applicable expiration date, known as a statute of limitations. Please call right away to ensure that you do not waive your right to possible compensation.