Pfizer pulls blood pressure medicines in US over cancer-causing impurities

Earlier this month, Pfizer kicked off two recalls in Canada for two of its blood pressure medicines. Now the company is pulling three of its blood pressure drugs off shelves in the United States because of the presence of cancer-causing agents.

On Monday, Pfizer issued a voluntary recall of its blood pressure drug Accuretic along with a pair of its generic hypertension treatments distributed by Greenstone.

All of the recalls—in addition to several rounds of recalls last summer of Pfizer’s smoking-cessation drug Chantix—were triggered because of the presence of nitrosamines. The impurities are commonly found in the air, drinking water, dairy products, vegetables and cured and grilled meats and “may increase the risk of cancer if people are exposed to them above acceptable levels over long periods of time,” Pfizer said in its statement.

The company said it has not received any reports of adverse events linked to any of the treatments and there is no immediate risk to patients taking the medication. Pfizer however advised patients who are taking the meds to consult their doctor about alternative treatment options.

Pfizer is recalling six lots of Accuretic that it provided to distributors in the U.S. and Puerto Rico between November 2019 and this month. The meds carry expiration dates between next month and August 2024. 

Also recalled are five lots of generic Accuretic with expiration dates between February and March of 2023.

Pfizer has advised wholesalers and distributors to halt distribution and quarantine the products, plus notify accounts who received any of the affected medicines.

Earlier this month, the company pulled eight lots of Accuretic in Canada. That came just three days after Pfizer recalled 15 lots of another blood pressure medicine, Inderal.

And last June, Pfizer halted global distribution of Chantix. The company followed that move with two rounds of recalls before pulling all lots in the U.S. to the consumer level.

Over the past few years, myriad drugmakers have had to recall blood pressure meds and metformin diabetes drugs over the presence of nitrosamines.