July 5, 2018 / 4:25 PM / a year ago

Europe recalls generic heart drug made in China on cancer fears

LONDON, July 5 (Reuters) - A number of high blood pressure and heart drugs containing an ingredient made in China are being recalled across Europe after an impurity that may cause cancer was found in them, officials said on Thursday.

The Europe-wide recall follows identification of the impurity in the active substance valsartan manufactured at one facility in China, Britain’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency’s (MHRA) said.

The appearance of the impurity - N-nitrosodimethylamine - follows a change in the process for making valsartan at the Chinese plant, the agency said.

Valsartan was originally developed by Novartis and the Swiss company marketed it as Diovan, but it is now off patent and is used in a number of generic medicines.

The MHRA said the European Medicines Agency and other EU regulators were working together to investigate the extent of the issue. (Reporting by Ben Hirschler; Editing by Jan Harvey)

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