UNITED STATES – The manufacturers of several popular blood pressure drugs are facing a potential wave of lawsuits about the presence of a cancer-causing substance in the medications. Numerous lawsuits have already been filed against the drug makers, with the potential for thousands more in a short time.
In July 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration started coordinating a recall of several cardiovascular drugs based on the detection of a carcinogenic impurity in the medications. Contaminated batches of the drug valsartan were first detected, and it became apparent that the batches were subsequently used to make other medications. Other drugs recalled for contamination include losartan and Irbesartan. The defendant drug manufacturers include Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceutical Co., Teva Pharmaceuticals, and Mylan NV, among others.
The FDA has indicated that the drugs might have been sold with unsafe levels of a carcinogen for up to four years before detection, meaning thousands of patients could have been exposed to the substance for many years. Patients who took the contaminated drugs ingested many times the amount of the carcinogenic substance deemed safe by the FDA.
Right now, lawsuits are pending in various courts around the country, with the possibility of creation of a multidistrict litigation (MDL). An MDL would allow all of the cases involving contamination of the blood pressure drugs to be consolidated into one court while each client maintained his or her individual cause of action. It is unclear if separate MDLs will be requested for each drug manufacturer involved in the matter (of which there are about 40) or if one MDL will be requested for all manufacturers.
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