The plague of unexpected drug recalls and the pandemic of falsified medications in cardiovascular medicine as a threat to patient safety and global public health: A brief review.
Valsartan, losartan, and irbesartan, are widely used in the treatment strategies of cardiovascular medicine diseases, including hypertension and heart failure. Recently, many formulations for the aforementioned diseases contained active pharmaceutical ingredients and had been abruptly recalled from the market due to safety concerns mainly associated with unwanted impurities - nitrosamines, which are highly carcinogenic substances accidentally produced during manufacturing. Along with cardiovascular medications, formulations containing ranitidine were also recalled from the market. This poses a particular threat to public health due to the non-prescription status of these drugs. Regulatory authorities, including the Food and Drug Administration and European Medicines Agency among others, have taken action to minimize patient risk and improve the manufacturing quality as well as re-checking current guidelines and recommendations. While these steps are necessary to avoid further recalls, authorities should remember the growing concerns of patients regarding the safety and efficacy of pharmacotherapy. Apart from the genuine manufacturing mistakes mentioned above, falsified and counterfeit medications should be at the heart of global attention. The lack of a well-accepted definition of falsified/counterfeit medications has impeded political and scientific efforts to mitigate risk of this phenomenon. Falsified Medicines Directive should be considered the most pivotal legislation recently enacted to harmonize international cooperation. In summary, one should remember that only international and direct collaboration between patients, stakeholders, and authorities be considered a remedy for a pandemic of falsified medicines and plague of unexpected recalls due to safety concerns.
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