LAHORE: Drug inspectors in the provincial capital inspected pharmacies and medical stores on Tuesday, confiscating a widely-used blood pressure medication.
Valsartan, a generic drug prescribed mainly to regulate blood pressure, was banned by the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) after it was found to be carcinogenic. The authority also issued directives instructing drug inspectors to launch a crackdown against those who continue to sell the China manufactured tablet.
DRAP also issued a letter to nine major pharmaceutical companies in the country to stop manufacturing drugs containing Valsartan.
The decision to ban the drug was made by an inquiry committee and was prompted by a worldwide recall of Valsartan after some batches were believed to contain carcinogens. The valsartan being recalled was manufactured by Zheijiang Huahai Pharmaceuticals.
“The medicine is mainly prescribed to those individuals who face high blood pressure or are at a risk of congestive heart failure. It has not only been banned in Pakistan; other countries around the world are also taking the same steps,” stated a DRAP official while requesting anonymity.
Special instructions were sent to the Punjab Institute of Cardiology, the biggest public health hospital which caters specifically to those who suffer heart diseases. In addition to this, all private hospitals having cardiology department were also told to stop using this medication, opting for an alternative, he added.
“Further, health secretaries across the province were instructed to strictly monitor hospitals and take strict action against those continuing to prescribe the medication,” he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 18th, 2018.
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