2018 Valsartan Lawsuit News: In October 2018, an additional lot of brands sold under the name RemedyRepack were added to the recall list of blood pressure medications containing valsartan due to possible contamination of two known carcinogens, NDMA and NDEA. This update comes after expanded recalls were announced in August and September 2018. If you have taken valsartan and been diagnosed with cancer, you could be eligible to file a lawsuit and should talk to a lawyer to investigate your claim.
Valsartan is a popular generic blood pressure medication originally developed by Novartis and sold under a number of different brand names, including Diovan, Exforge and Entresto. Valsartan is often combined with other drugs, such as amlodipine or hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ). Recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued several recalls for valsartan-containing medications due to contamination of a probable carcinogen.
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Why People Are Looking to File Valsartan Lawsuits
Valsartan is an active ingredient in a number of medications used to treat hypertension (high blood pressure), heart failure, and related medical conditions. Like all prescription drugs, valsartan has a number of side effects on its own, but the concerns that have been leading to discussion about lawsuits are primarily around the discovery that batches of valsartan have been contaminated with a chemical known as N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA). In September 2018, the FDA discovered that three batches of valsartan manufactured by Torrent Pharmaceuticals also contained traces of a second impurity, N-nitrosodiethylamine (NDEA).
NDMA is classified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a probable human carcinogen. It was primarily used in the past in the production of rocket fuel, antioxidants, and other industrial uses. Because of its carcinogenic properties, NDMA has been used by some scientists to induce cancer in rats for research.
Valsartan Recall and Cancer Risks
In July 2018, the FDA and at least 22 health and safety agencies in other countries, including Health Canada and the European Medicines Agency, issued recalls for valsartan due to the discovery of traces of NDMA in the drug. The FDA has stated that the contamination likely was caused by changes to the drug’s manufacturing process, and that some valsartan products may have contained NDMA for as long as four years.
Since the initial announcement, the valsartan recall has been expanded to include valsartan-containing products (including valsartan/hydrochlorothiazide) from these affected companies:
- A-S Medication Solutions LLC
- Bryant Ranch Prepack Inc.
- Camber Pharmaceuticals
- H J Harkins Company Inc. (Pharma Pac)
- Northwind Pharmaceuticals
- NuCare Pharmaceuticals
- Preferred Pharmaceuticals
- Prinston Pharmaceutical Inc., including its subsidiary Solco Healthcare LLC
- Proficient Rx LP
- RemedyRepack Inc.
- Teva Pharmaceuticals, including its subsidiaries Major Pharmaceuticals and Actavis
- Torrent Pharmaceuticals Limited
Not all valsartan medications are included in the recall, only those supplied by the Chinese company Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceuticals and the Indian company Hetero Labs Limited (Camber Pharmaceuticals). As a result, Diovan lawsuits and legal actions against other valsartan-containing drugs produced by Novartis are not currently being filed. In September 2018, the FDA imports from Huahai’s Chuannan factory due to the contaminated valsartan.
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Also, products with expiration dates prior to July 2018 were not included in the recall, meaning that any expired drugs which have not been properly disposed of could still be problematic if somebody takes them. Future products that contain the active pharmaceutical ingredient valsartan may also be added to the recall, if they are discovered to contain NDMA.
The risk of developing cancer from the traces of NDMA found in contaminated valsartan is still unknown. However, NDMA can also cause other problems, such as liver damage. Anyone who takes valsartan should talk to their pharmacist or health care professional to see if their prescription is included in the recall and to receive a different medication, if necessary.
Valsartan Side Effects
- Viral infection
- Abdominal pain
- Hypotension (low blood pressure)
- Arthralgia (joint pain)
- Back pain
- Increased blood creatinine
Current Valsartan Litigation
Since the most recent update to the valsartan recall was announced in September 2018, lawsuits are developing. One class action lawsuit has been filed since the initial recall, but more are expected to be filed as hundreds of thousands are potentially affected by NDMA found in the medication. Below is a notable case.
Eric J. Erwin — Trenton, New Jersey
Eric J. Erwin filed a class action lawsuit on August 31, 2018, against Prinston Pharmaceutical Inc., Solco, Huahai US, and Teva. Erwin, who took valsartan to manage his blood pressure as an equivalent to brand name Diovan, filed individually and on behalf of the hundreds of thousands who were affected by valsartan recalls. He claims the defendants were aware of the cancer-causing ingredient in valsartan as early as 2012, but continued to distribute the drug. This raises claims of fraud and deception against the manufacturers and companies.
Frequently Asked Questions About Valsartan Lawsuits
Litigation around valsartan contaminated with NDMA or NDEA is still developing. However, below are some answers to common questions people have about potential valsartan lawsuits.
Am I Eligible for a Valsartan Lawsuit?
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed after taking a prescription that contains valsartan contaminated with NDMA or NDEA, you could be eligible to file a lawsuit. Some animal studies have associated NDMA with the following types of cancer:
- Colorectal cancer
- Gastric cancer
- Liver cancer
- Kidney cancer
However, NDMA and NDEA could be a factor in the development of other cancers. If you have been diagnosed with any kind of cancer after taking contaminated valsartan, you should talk to a drug lawyer to understand your legal rights.
What Compensation Can I Get for a Valsartan Lawsuit?
No valsartan settlements or verdicts have occurred yet, so the range of compensation that may be available is still unclear. In general, legal claims like these tend to seek compensation for the following:
- Costs of cancer treatment, including side effect management, follow-up appointments, and ongoing care
- Lost income due to the illness, such as time off work or unemployment, including potential future income
- Pain and suffering from the disease
- Mental anguish and emotional distress
- Punitive damages to punish the manufacturer for wrongful conduct (if applicable)
You should talk to a lawyer to see what compensation may be available in your case.
How Much Do Valsartan Lawsuits Cost?
Valsartan lawsuits are most commonly accepted by law firms on a contingency basis, meaning that they only get paid if they help you receive compensation. The payment is usually a percentage of the recovered amount.
During your free case evaluation, you will have a chance to discuss what costs will be paid to your lawyer if they help you receive a settlement or favorable verdict.
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