In a lawsuit filed on January 30, 2019, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas, Betty Selph claimed that taking generic valsartan medication for treating her high blood pressure caused her colorectal cancer.
In her complaint, the Arkansas woman named various generic valsartan manufacturers and distributors as defendants, such as Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceutical Co., Prinston Pharmaceutical, Inc., Solco Healthcare, and Aurobindo Pharma USA. Selph started taking the medicine on December 14, 2014, and since then used several generic tablets until August 2018. She was diagnosed with colorectal cancer in September 2018. The blood pressure pills consumed by the plaintiff were manufactured by the above-mentioned defendants and were part of the valsartan recall issued by the U.S. FDA. The federal agency started a number of recalls starting from July 2018 due to the presence of N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) and N-Nitrosodiethylamine (NDEA) in valsartan. The FDA's review indicated that patients taking valsartan will not realize its cancer side-effect until about four years, which is what happened in Selph's case also. In September 2018, when colorectal cancer was detected in Selph, the FDA discontinued all imports of drug ingredients and medicines manufactured by Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceuticals (ZHP) in China, which produced many such ingredients that had NDMA as a by-product of manufacturing drawback.
Valsartan lawsuits filed by several individuals claimed they were diagnosed with liver cancer, kidney cancer, lung cancer, and other forms of cancer due to the NDMA or NDEA contaminated valsartan medicine.