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EU authorities take further action in ongoing review of sartans

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Zheijiang Huahai placed under increased supervision, Aurobindo Pharma stopped from supplying irbesartan to the EU

EU authorities are placing the Chinese company Zheijiang Huahai under increased supervision following European and US inspections which revealed weaknesses in quality management at the company’s Chuannan site in Linhai, China.

The inspection findings included deficiencies in the way the company investigated impurities in its valsartan products and led EU authorities to issue a statement of non-compliance with good manufacturing practices (GMP), prohibiting the use of its valsartan in EU medicines.

This latest action means that EU authorities will supervise the manufacture of other active substances produced by Zhejiang Huahai more closely.

Authorities will monitor corrective measures being implemented by the company on a regular basis and increase the frequency of inspections of the site. In addition, marketing authorisation holders for EU medicines will be required to perform additional tests on all active substances supplied by Zhejiang Huahai.

Recently, the detection of impurities N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) and N-nitrosodiethylamine (NDEA) in valsartan from Zhejiang Huahai led to EU- wide review an of all valsartan medicines. The review was subsequently extended to other ‘sartan’ medicines when very low levels of NDEA were found in losartan made by Hetero Labs in India.

Both NDMA and NDEA, which have not been found in any of Zheijiang Huahai’s other products, are classified as probable human carcinogens (substances that could cause cancers). A preliamnary risk asses ment for NDMA in valsartan indicated that the lifetime risk of cancer is low.

Low levels of NDEA have now also been found in a third sartan, irbesartan, made by Indian company, Aurobindo Pharma. The European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines & HealthCare (EDQM) has suspended Aurobindo Pharma’s (CEP), stopping the supply in the EU of medicines containing irbesartan from this company.

National authorities in the EU are currently considering whether to recall medicines containing Aurobindo Pharma’s irbesartan from pharmacies as a precaution.

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