CVS Pharmacy has removed Zantac from its shelves due to a concern that the medication might contain a substance that causes cancer, reports said.
Over the weekend, America’s largest pharmacy chain made the decision to stop selling the heartburn medication and a similar generic version after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said the medications, which contain ranitidine, could have low-levels of impurities that may cause cancer.
On September 26, the administration issued a press release urging pharmacies to institute a recall of the drugs.
The press release stated:
These medicines may contain low levels of a nitrosamine impurity called N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA). Consumers taking OTC ranitidine, which is used to prevent and relieve heartburn associated with acid ingestion and sour stomach, may consider using other OTC products approved for their condition.
NDMA is classified as a probable human carcinogen (a substance that could cause cancer) based on results from laboratory tests. NDMA is a known environmental contaminant and found in water and foods, including meats, dairy products and vegetables.
Reports said the FDA has been investigating NDMA since 2018 because of impurities in blood pressure and heart failure medicines known as angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs).
“Numerous recalls have been launched as the FDA found ‘unacceptable levels’ of nitrosamines in several of those common drugs containing valsartan,” according to KXLY Spokane.
On Saturday, Sanofi, the company that makes Zantac, released a statement in an effort to reassure customers of its standards when it comes to the medication.
“We are working closely with the FDA and are conducting our own robust investigations to ensure we continue to meet the highest quality safety and quality standards,” the statement read.
“At Sanofi, we remain committed to being transparent with our patients and consumers and will share an update when one is available,” it said. “There are currently no plans to stop distributing or manufacturing Zantac or other ranitidine products outside of Canada.”