Last week, regulators in the U.S. and Europe disclosed that the same carcinogen that led to numerous recalls over the past year of valsartan and similar blood pressure pills was found in Zantac and other antacid medicines known as ranitidines. The Food and Drug Administration, however, was first alerted to the presence of the carcinogen, known as NDMA, by Valisure, a small online pharmacy that also tests batches of each medicine it sells. We spoke with David Light, a co-founder and chief executive officer, about the decision to look for NDMA and why he believes that regulators are failing to characterize the problem properly. This is an edited version of the conversation.
Pharmalot: You sell medicines online, but how and why did your company start testing them?