Following a recent U.S. Food and Drugs Administration recall of a hypertension maintenance drug, the Commonwealth Health Care Corp. has pulled out all of its stocks of the drug from its in-house pharmacy.
“We took them off the shelves as soon as it was recalled,” said CHCC chief executive officer Esther Muña yesterday, referring to the FDA’s recall of Losartan, which had cited carcinogenic impurities in the drug.
Carcinogens are cancer-causing substances.
“When we get notified, before it even gets out to the public, pharmacies are always notified ahead of time. Our pharmacies take them off the shelves and advise the patients that have [bought] it,” Muña said.
According to Muña, people who are believed to have bought drugs after a recall are immediately contacted and asked to come in so that they can be given alternative drugs.
“The pharmacy will be working with the provider to give them an alternative medicine,” she noted, adding that the recall is in effect on all three islands.
According to national media outlets, Torrent Pharmaceuticals last April 18 recalled 36 lots of losartan potassium tablets and 68 lots of losartan potassium/hydrochlorothiazide tablets for alleged NMBA contamination.
NMBA is one of the three carcinogens found in hypertension medicine produced by Torrent Pharmaceuticals. The other two include NMDA and NDEA.
The contamination was reportedly hushed for a year before health officials acknowledged the contamination, which had already exposed more than two million people around the world.
Other blood pressure drugs such as valsartan and irbesartan were also contaminated and have also been been recalled.