Republicans and Democrats on a committee of the House of Representatives are asking the federal Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, for a report on the status of certain blood pressure medicines that are commonly manufactured in foreign plants.
As this blog has mentioned before, some of these medications, including valsartan and losartan, have been subject to a slew of recalls since last July. The drugs all use the same active ingredient, and each of them works by causing blood vessels to relax, thereby increasing blood flow and reducing a patient's blood pressure.
Unfortunately, at two foreign plants, one in China and one in India, there were apparently some unexpected changes in the way the drugs were manufactured. The end result of this change in process was that the drugs included chemicals that are known to cause cancer. Hence, there was a need for the recalls.
While the FDA has indicated that it does not believe the issue is likely to cause cancer in American patients who used these drugs prior to the recalls, Congress, or, more precisely, some members of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, is still asking the agency to explain what they are doing to inspect foreign plants which are manufacturing these drugs for the U.S. market.
In its letter, Congress pointed out that the vast majority of ingredients used in drugs, about 80 percent, are made in foreign countries.
Hopefully, the FDA is right that the risk of a Georgia resident actually getting cancer because of these drugs is small. However, those who have taken one of these recalled drugs may wish to evaluate their legal options. A medical product liability suit may be a possibility.