With the government’s ban on the import and sale of generic drugs containing Chinese-made valsartan, orders for original medicines by multinational drugmakers are surging, industry officials said.
Novartis Korea, which sells original drug Diovan (ingredient: valsartan), notified wholesalers that the company was witnessing a rapid increase in the number of orders for the original medicine.
“After the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety’s announcement on Sunday to prohibit the sale of drugs that used Chinese-made valsartan, the orders for Novartis Korea’s valsartan product are rising rapidly,” Novartis Korea said in the notice. “We will do our best to supply the product smoothly. We would like to request your close cooperation so that the supply can continue.”
Original drugs that are rapidly increasing in demand are Diovan Film-Coated Tab. 40mg, 80mg, 160mg, 320mg, Co-Diovan Tab. 80/12.5mg, 160/12.5mg, and Exforge Tab. 5/80mg, 5/160mg, 10/160mg. These are either a valsartan monotherapy or a combination drug containing valsartan.
“We are supplying Diovan normally. We have sought wholesalers’ cooperation to ensure a smooth supply of the medicines needed by patients in the future, too,” a Novartis Korea official said.
As of Tuesday, Seoul banned the sale and prescription of 115 drugs containing valsartan manufactured by China’s Zhejiang Huahai after detecting N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), a possible carcinogen, in the ingredient.
Patients who used to take the problematic hypertension drugs are in a panic, changing their medications at hospitals and pharmacies and demanding refunds.