Health Care

Walmart, CVS, Walgreens all pull Zantac, similar heartburn drugs

Walmart, CVS, Walgreens all pull Zantac, similar heartburn drugs”

DISTRIBUTORS of the drug ranitidine, which decreases the amount of acid formed in the stomach, will be withdrawing them from pharmacies islandwide, following yesterday's announcement of an import ban on the product by the Ministry of Health and Wellness.

Hy-Vee officials say the action is being taken out of an abundance of caution due to a recent industry-wide product alert from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that ranitidine products may contain a low level of nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), a probable human carcinogen.

Jamaica's health ministry yesterday advised patients presently taking over-the-counter ranitidine for simple heartburn to ask their pharmacists or other healthcare providers to recommend suitable substitutes, such as antacids.

CVS Health Corp earlier this week said it would stop the sale of the medicines, while pharmacy chains Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc and Rite Aid Corp have also moved to remove the drugs off their shelves.

The nation's largest retailer said Wednesday that it suspended sales of all drugs sold over the counter, or without a prescription, that include Zantac's active ingredient, ranitidine. "For more information on this issue, please see the FDA website".

The contaminant is was reportedly detected during a routine post-market testing.

While the levels identified in the NDMA findings were low, TGA stated the containment should not be present in medication.

It said in its September 24 alert that while it "investigates the root cause and risk, consumers and patients can continue to take ranitidine that has not been recalled".

NDMA is among the nitrosamine impurities whose detection in the active pharmaceutical ingredient valsartan has led to recalls of some versions of that angiotensin II receptor blocker medication prescribed for high blood pressure over the a year ago.

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