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(ANTIGUA OBSERVER) – Health authorities in Antigua and Barbuda are cautioning residents not to be “overly alarmed” about a global valsartan recall, while confirming that batches of the drug were pulled from the shelves of two pharmacies in St. John’s.
Director of Pharmaceutical Services in the Ministry of Health, Alfred Athill told OBSERVER media that the drugs were removed in the presence of drug inspectors who have been monitoring the situation for over a week.
Valsartan is an active ingredient that is contained in medications used to treat blood pressure, congestive heart failure, and to increase the chances of living longer after a heart attack and heart failure.
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recalled the drug after lab tests discovered that some drugs could have been tainted with a substance linked to higher risk of cancer.
Athill also explained that the product recall specifically relates to the generic products that are being marketed by some companies, adding that the recall will present a void for people suffering from high blood pressure.
The director of pharmaceutical services outlined that there are other brands of high blood pressure medications that are available at all Medical Benefit Pharmacies and the Mount St. John’s Medical Centre (MSJMC) that are not included on the recall lists.
Athill is advising people with concerns, “To return to their healthcare provider to get guidance on how to proceed. The information as it relates to the recall would have been circulated generally so that people will be aware of what to look for.”