Valsartan is a prescription medication designed to help patients with high blood pressure, heart failure, and other heart-related conditions. It was first released in 2005 by Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. under the brand name “Diovan” and became extremely lucrative with Novartis pulling in $2 billion to $6 billion in sales each year. In 2012 the patent that Novartis had on Valsartan expired, thereby allowing other companies to begin manufacturing and selling generic versions of the drug. Once VALSARTAN went generic, the problems began.
What is the Problem with Valsartan?
The problem with Valsartan is not with the drug itself but with the generic manufacturing of the drug. Once the drug went generic, many companies decided to outsource the manufacturing of the drug to pharmaceutical manufacturers in CHINA and INDIA, where oversight and quality control were severely lacking compared to the United States. As a result, a substantial amount of the generic Valsartan was contaminated during the manufacturing process with cancer-causing substances, the worst of which is n-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) which can cause liver cancer, liver damage, colorectal cancer, kidney cancer, kidney damage and gastric/stomach cancer. Studies found that the contaminated Valsartan contained anywhere from 3.1 times to 177 times the safe levels of NDMA and that it can be expected that there will be 1 additional case of cancer for every 8,000 people taking the highest doses of contaminated Valsartan.
Unfortunately, it took over 4 years before the FDA was made aware of the contamination, and while several batches of generic Valsartan have been recalled since that time, millions of patients in the U.S. had already been unnecessarily exposed to cancer-causing NDMA.
To date, there have been dozens of lawsuits filed by patients who claim to have developed cancers or sustained organ damage from Valsartan. The primary manufacturing companies named in the lawsuits include the Chinese companies, Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceuticals and Zhejiang Tianyu Pharmaceuticals along with the Indian companies, Hetero Labs, Ltd. and Mylan Laboratories Limited. In addition to allegations of faulty manufacturing which allowed the Valsartan to be contaminated, there have also been allegations that these companies knew of the contamination and ignored it.
In the year 2018 alone, it has been estimated that some 1.5 million people in the U.S. took the contaminated Valsartan. The FDA has already identified and sent recall letters to some 2 million people suspected of having taken contaminated Valsartan over the years. As a result, it is expected that in the upcoming years, the number of lawsuits will most likely rise into the thousands.
What If You Think You May Have a Problem From Valsartan?
If you or a loved one suffered liver cancer, liver damage, colorectal cancer, kidney cancer, kidney damage or gastric/stomach cancer after taking Valsartan, you or they may be entitled to financial compensation for medical bills, lost wages, emotional distress, pain, suffering and disability resulting from those complications. Call Lattof & Lattof today for a free consultation regarding your potential rights. Remember that claims of this type usually have a certain time limitation within which you may take action, so it is important that you make the call as soon as you can so as to preserve your rights.