In response to a medication shortage, the Food and Drug Administration has approved a new generic of valsartan (Diovan), produced by Alkem Laboratories, for the treatment of high blood pressure and heart failure, the regulatory agency announced in a statement.
The FDA conducted an investigation into generic angiotensin II receptor blocker (ARB) products following reports of N-nitrosodimethylamine impurities being found in a separate valsartan product in the summer of 2018. Since that time, nitrosamine impurities have been detected in multiple ARBs, and as of March 1, 2019, hundreds of lots of ARBs produced by several companies have been recalled. The FDA has implemented new rules to prevent further contamination, but the ongoing recalls have caused a significant shortage.
“[To] address the public health consequences of these shortages, we’ve prioritized the review of generic applications for these valsartan products,” FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, said in the statement.
For the new generic’s approval, the FDA assessed Alkem Laboratories’ manufacturing process and ensured that the company used proper testing methods to rule out the presence of nitrosamine impurities.
“We hope that today’s approval of this new generic will help reduce the valsartan shortage, and we remain committed to implementing measures to prevent the formation of these impurities during drug manufacturing processes for existing and future products,” Dr. Gottlieb said.