SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China's health department said on Monday that all domestic medical facilities should cooperate with the authorities and not use the valsartan blood and heart drug from Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceutical, which could pose cancer risks.
The drug's bulk producer earlier this month said it remembered the valsartan drug sold in the US after the European Medicines Agency discovered it was contaminated with cancer.
In a statement released on its website, China's National Health and Family Planning Commission said that the recalled drug, which is commonly used to treat high blood pressure patients, should not be used for the diagnosis and treatment of disease.
European regulators have stated that the problem is likely due to changes introduced to manufacturing processes in the company in 201
The drug has already been withdrawn in the United States and Europe, and the Chinese Drug Administration said on Sunday that Huahai had completed the withdrawal of China's raw materials used to manufacture the drug.
The Chinese Health Authority also said there are six local companies using Hualai valsartan. Five of these companies had products on the market and have since issued recalls, she added.
The sixth company, the Hunan branch of Zhuzhou Qianjin Pharmaceutical, had not yet delivered their products, the regulator said. The company said in a statement that Huahai's valsartan was returned earlier this month and that none of its products were affected by the product recalls.
Huahai said on Monday that his other products did not contain the contaminant known as NDMA, which is considered a likely human carcinogen, and that it would further improve its systems to prevent similar incidents.
coverage by David Stanway and Brenda Goh; Edited by Muralikumar Anantharaman