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Pfizer launches a recall of blood pressure drugs due to a potential carcinogen

FILE - The Pfizer logo is displayed at the company's headquarters in New York, on Feb. 5, 2021. Nearly three dozen companies worldwide will soon start making generic versions of Pfizer’s coronavirus pill, according to the Medicines Patent Pool, a U.N.-backed group that negotiated the agreements with the pharmaceutical. The new agreements would allow generic drugmakers in a dozen countries in Asia, the Caribbean, the Middle East and eastern Europe to produce either the raw ingredients for the Pfizer drug or the pill itself. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)
The Pfizer logo is displayed at the company's headquarters in New York last year.

Pfizer Inc. is recalling a blood pressure drug due to elevated levels of a potential cancer-causing impurity.

The company warnedconsumers on Monday of several tainted lots of Accuretic and two other versions of the drug – Quinapril and hydrochlorothiazide tablets – because of the presence of a nitrosamine above the Acceptable Daily Intake level.

"Nitrosamines are common in water and foods, including cured and grilled meats, dairy products and vegetables. Everyone is exposed to some level of nitrosamines," accordingto the Food and Drug Administration.

It adds: "These impurities may increase the risk of cancer if people are exposed to them above acceptable levels over long periods of time."

The medications are prescribed for the treatment of hypertension to reduce the risk of cardiovascular events, primarily strokes and myocardial infarctions.

The recall is voluntary, according to the company, and the company says that as of Monday, it has not received any reports of adverse events related to the drugs. "Although long- term ingestion of N-nitroso-quinapril may be associated with a potential increased cancer risk in humans, there is no immediate risk to patients taking this medication," it adds.

Pfizer suggests patients taking the tablets should consult with their healthcare provider or pharmacy to determine if they've been given an affected batch. Patients can also call 888-843-0247, Mon.-Fri. 8 a.m.-5 p.m. ET, for instructions on how to return their product and get a refund.

Check here for a list of the lot numbers of the drugs being recalled. Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.