These days, Canada is facing a serious heart drugs crisis. Chronic patients are the most affected by this situation, but the authorities still don’t know what they should do. In addition, pharmacists have their hands tied, because people who suffer from heart conditions keep asking for their help and they cannot provide it.
It all started when an impurity has been found in “Valsartan”, an ingredient used in medication that can treat high blood pressure with the purpose of preventing heart attacks and strokes. The dangerous substance, known as N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), can cause cancer if a person is exposed to it on long term.
The connection between NDMA and “Valsartan” is that the first one is an element from the second. The final product is found in drugs produced by the Chinese company Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceuticals. So far, experts have been able to conclude that not all valsartan products have this dangerous impact.
What are the Canadian authorities doing?
The Canada Health Department had to recall the suspected drugs form the market and are trying to find suitable alternatives for chronic patients. They joined forces with the Windsor Regional Hospital and are asking patients to continue with treatment.
Now, people are wondering if they should keep taking the controversial drugs or fi they should replace it with alternatives. Even if they would be willing to start using substitutes, pharmacists don’t have anything else to recommend.
Given the fact that nothing like this ever happened, health experts haven’t had the chance to build a stock of health medications. In this case, the situation is quite serious for patients – they are having a hard time living without them and wouldn’t be able to live a long, happy life if they kept using this medication.
Another important warning is that patients shouldn’t change their treatment unless their doctor or pharmacist recommends it. For that matter, if you’re out of treatment, pay your health experts a visit.
Brad is a former Senior Fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University, is an award-winning travel, culture, and parenting writer. His writing has appeared in many of the Canada’s most respected and credible publications, including the Toronto Star, CBC News and on the cover of Smithsonian Magazine. A meticulous researcher who’s not afraid to be controversial, he is nationally known as a journalist who opens people’s eyes to the realities behind accepted practices in the care of children. Brad is a contributing journalist to Advocator.ca