Bloomberg News

EU Says No Evidence of Cancer Risk From Angiotensin Blockers

October 20, 2011

(Adds comment from agency in third paragraph.)

Oct. 20 (Bloomberg) -- The European Medicines Agency said a review of research doesn’t show any risk of cancer from a class of heart drugs that includes Novartis AG’s Diovan, Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH’s Micardis and Merck & Co.’s Cozaar.

The Italian Medicines Agency requested the review of the medicines known as angiotensin receptor blockers after the publication of an analysis that showed increased risk of new cancers, particularly lung tumors, compared with placebo and other heart medicines, the agency said today in a statement.

“The evidence from the meta-analysis was weak, noting several problems with the quality of the data,” the European agency said in the statement.

Angiotensin receptor blockers, known as ARBs, relax blood vessels by blocking the effects of a hormone that increases blood pressure. Diovan, Novartis’s best-selling drug, generated more than $6 billion in revenue in 2010. Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. last year won U.S. regulatory approval for a generic version of Cozaar.

--Editors: Kristen Hallam, David Risser

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Phil Serafino at

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