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Dubai: The Ministry of Health and Prevention on Tuesday announced that a number of heart medicines containing a Chinese active ingredient were withdrawn from the UAE market.

The ministerial decision to remove the products was based on the European Medicines Agency’s (EMA) recent report, which confirmed the contamination of the active ingredient valsartan.

The affected products were manufactured by China’s Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceutical, and contained N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) – a chemical that might lead to cancer. 

Valsartan is used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure.

The ministry’s circular to withdraw and suspend the circulation of the affected medicines was issued to the directors of medical districts, public and private hospitals, as well as government and private pharmacies.

Health care providers were also instructed not to prescribe the medicines and use alternative brands.

The ministry further cautioned patients not to stop using their medication without first consulting with their doctor.  

The products withdrawn from UAE shelves are:

Cinfaval, manufactured by Laboratorios Cinfa S.A. - Spain

Co-Cinfaval, manufactured by Laboratorios Cinfa S.A. - Spain

Diostar Plus, manufactured by Pharma International Co. - Jordan

Valdio, manufactured by Globalpharma, UAE

Valdio HCT, manufactured by Globalpharma, UAE

The ministry confirmed that all other heart drugs containing the ingredient valsartan are safe, as they do not contain the harmful chemical NDMA.