Lifesaving medication on back-order due to recalls

Published: Updated:
Valsartan (CBS Pittsburgh)

Lifesaving medication is on back-order, all thanks to drug recalls that have plagued patients all year.

“High blood pressure isn’t a good thing. They call it the silent killer,” said Paula Fee. She’s living with that condition thanks to the medication Valsartan.

We spoke with her about a year ago when that medication was recalled because of cancer concerns with the ingredients.

“It threw me in a tizzy,” she said.

Since then, Fee was able to get a new batch of the medicine until a few weeks ago when the pharmacy she uses called to tell her it was on back-order.

“At this point of the year, now some of the wholesalers have none at all,” said T.J. DePaola with Cypress Pharmacy. He said all the blood pressure medication recalls have turned the drug supply chain upside down, which is leading to a shortage now.

“You might get it one month and not the next month. You don’t want to keep playing with that,” he said.

That is why he suggests switching to a different medication not affected by the recalls and back-orders.

But for some patients like Fee, that’s not an option. “Doing the alternate medication made my blood pressure really go off the charts,” she says.

So she’s using the supply she’s got and hoping the backorders get filled quickly so she doesn’t have to risk her life or pay more for the same medication elsewhere.

“I’d much rather spend that money on Christmas presents for my grandchildren than medication,” she said.

Earlier this year, the Food and Drug Administration approved a generic version of Valsartan to help with the shortage. However, according to the FDA website, they still list Valsartan in shortage on their list of dozens of other drugs that are back-ordered.

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