Blood Pressure Medication Recall
Serving You and The State of Florida
Blood pressure medications have been in the news lately for all the wrong reasons. Humana filed a suit against TEVA Pharmaceuticals when their blood pressure medications were recalled for containing carcinogens known to cause cancer. The FDA has put these medications, specifically Valsartan, on its recall list because of the cancer-causing agents contained in some brands.
In the lawsuit filed on August 7, 2020, in the U.S. District Court of New Jersey, Humana seeks compensation for the costs associated with recalling and replacing the generic blood pressure medication provided by Teva for its customers. The results of this lawsuit will have repercussions for individuals who suffer damages because of the defective drugs.
Knowing what this recall means for you if you have taken Valsartan is extremely important. You have a legal cause for action against the pharmaceutical company if you suffer harm now, or in the future, from having taken this drug.
Why Did the FDA Issue a Recall for the Medication?
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) placed a recall on blood pressure medications which contain N-Nitrosodiethylamine (NDEA) or N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA). Both NDEA and NDMA are contaminants which are also included on the list of carcinogenic chemicals. Carcinogenic means “known to cause cancer.”
Because of the potential danger of cancers arising from the use of these drugs, the FDA thought it prudent to place all the medications that contain these contaminants on a recall list. Teva Pharmaceuticals is not the only manufacturer impacted by the recall. Torrent Pharmaceuticals is expanding a voluntary recall to include different lots of losartan potassium tablets, which are another blood pressure medication in the same class.
What Should I Do if My Medication was Recalled?
It is crucial that you never abruptly stop taking any medication without the advice of your doctor, so if your blood pressure medication is on the recall list, consult with your healthcare provider before making any changes.
Suddenly stopping blood pressure medication can cause serious physical consequences, such as rebound hypertension, which can be deadly. The impact of the recall is not intended to discourage patients from taking their prescribed medications. Your doctor will work with you to safely wean you from the drug if necessary, and in many instances, they will prescribe a safer alternative.
Not all blood pressure medications, even those by the same name, have been affected. Certain lot numbers, provided by specific labs and manufacturing facilities, are the ones implicated in the recall. If you are unsure if the recall is related to your medication, it is vital to reach out to your physician and have them verify if your medicine has been recalled.
What Led to the Recall?
The FDA discovered that the medications contained dangerous chemicals that can cause cancer of the liver, kidneys, stomach, and intestines. One of the drugs of concern is called Valsartan and is manufactured by the Chinese manufacturer Zheijiang Huahai. This Chinese manufacturer sold the drug to many major pharmaceutical companies in the United States. Major pharmaceutical companies who purchased the drug include:
- Solco Healthcare
- Camber Pharmaceuticals
- Investigations are ongoing to see if other pharmaceutical companies purchased the drugs as well
Once these companies received the drugs, they then distributed them to the market in the U.S., reaching the hands of hundreds of thousands of individuals who take the medications to control hypertension. Valsartan is primarily a drug used to treat hypertension, but it is also used to treat heart failure in certain patients.
How Dangerous Are the Chemicals in the Medications?
The average consumer who takes these drugs, or knows someone who does, is probably wondering how dangerous are these chemicals? NDMA is present in minimal amounts in water and many common foods. In these circumstances, it is the high amount of the substances like NDMA that is concerning and led to the FDA recall.
According to a recent class-action suit filed, Valsartan tablets contained up to 20,000 nanograms of NDMA. That is more than 200 times the FDA acceptable daily limit for consumption, which is 96 nanograms.
What Type of Legal Action is Being Taken Against Those Responsible?
In Illinois, a class action claim has been filed, which claims that Walgreens sold this drug to many consumers without warning them that it contained a cancer-causing carcinogen. In Cook County Circuit Court, the lawsuit goes on to allege that Walgreens knew about the potential risk and failed to pass that information on to consumers. The plaintiff, Harry Shanov, claims that had Walgreens warned him about the potential cancer-causing agents contained in Valsartan, he never would have purchased the product. Many other consumers share this concern. Mr. Shanov also claims that the label on his prescription was misleading and did not warn of the potential risk either.
What Should I Do If I Have Taken Valsartan, Losartan, or Another Drug Impacted by the Recall?
It may be too early to tell if you have been affected by recalled medication, but knowing your legal rights if the worst happens is essential. Awareness of the potential for harm is the first step. Now that you know you may have been exposed to a dangerous drug, you can follow-up with your doctor about the proper medical evaluations to make sure you do everything possible to remain healthy.
What if I Have Been Diagnosed With Cancer After Taking the Drug?
Proving you suffered harm from the medication is crucial, so collect as much evidence as possible. The pharmacy you use should be able to provide you a prescription record that will tell you if the drug you took is on the recall list and how long you took the medication. Request a copy of your medical records from each facility and provider since your diagnosis. Once you have compiled this information, make an appointment with The Lopez Law Group to discuss your legal options.
Each case will depend on how you were exposed to the medications and for how long. You may be able to get compensation for your economic damages, as well as punitive damages against the companies responsible. Dangerous drugs would fall under product liability personal injury claims.
I Do Not Have Cancer, but I Have Suffered Physical Harm Because Alternative Medications Have not Controlled My Condition. What are My Options?
Cancer is not the only danger from these high blood pressure and heart failure medications being recalled from the market. Finding the right drug or combination of drugs to control hypertension or heart failure can often be a balancing act. It can take some time to find the right medicine and dosage for each person. If your hypertension or heart failure became worse when you were forced, by the recall, to stop taking these medications, you might have a claim against the companies responsible.
Cases like this can be complicated. The first step is talking with your healthcare provider about your concerns. Do they believe that your condition worsened because you were forced to change medications due to the recall? If they do, then it is a good idea to contact a Florida personal injury attorney to learn about your potential legal options.
Can I be Awarded Punitive Damages?
Punitive damages are awarded in cases where gross negligence or intentional misconduct has occurred. The purpose of punitive damages is to punish the companies or parties responsible for their misdeeds, but Florida caps punitive damages at half a million dollars, or three times the amount of compensatory damages, whichever is greater.
I Was Taking a Recalled Blood Pressure Medication. Does that Mean I Need a Florida Personal Injury Lawyer?
If you, or someone you know, have taken Valsartan or any other blood pressure medications which were subjected to this recall, the most important thing is to stay calm. You should reach out immediately to your medical provider to discuss the medication and learn about any alternatives that might exist. Protecting your health is the first thing you need to worry about.
If you have cancer that you believe may have been caused by the prolonged use of a recalled medication, you will need the assistance of a skilled personal injury attorney in Florida. The Lopez Law Group is here to assist you with a free case review and consultation.
The Lopez Law Group has experience in all types of personal injury cases, including those involving other harmful drugs, such as Zantac. We can negotiate for a settlement for your case, take it to trial in state court, or guide you through the processs of joining a class action suit. We will talk you through each of your potential options and give you our expert advice over the best course of action for you.
Give us a call at (727) 933-0015 to schedule an appointment to meet with one of our attorneys. We will carefully review any documentation you have and always provide you with an honest assessment of the strength of your case. If you took one of these dangerous medications and suffered physical harm as a result, we will help you fight for the compensation you deserve so that you can focus on regaining your health.
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