CVS stops sale of heartburn drugs with suspect contaminant

Business News

A box of Maximum Strength Zantac tablets is shown at a pharmacy, Monday, Sept. 30, 2019, in Miami Beach, Fla. CVS has halted sales of the popular heartburn treatment and the store generic version after warnings by U.S. health regulators. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

WOONSOCKET, R.I. (AP/WPRI) — CVS has halted sales of popular heartburn treatment Zantac and the store generic version after warnings by U.S. health regulators.

Woonsocket-based CVS is the latest retailer to pull the heartburn tablets from store shelves. Earlier this month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned consumers about a potentially dangerous contaminant in prescription and over-the-counter versions of Zantac.

“This action is being taken out of an abundance of caution due to a recent Product Alert from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that ranitidine products may contain a low level of nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), which is a probable human carcinogen,” CVS said in a statement.

The company said Zantac brand products and CVS brand ranitidine products have not been recalled, and the FDA is not recommending that patients stop taking ranitidine at this time.

In its announcement this weekend, CVS said customers who bought Zantac products can return them for a refund. The retailer will continue to sell other heartburn medications such as Pepcid.

Last week, two generic makers voluntarily recalled their products: Apotex and Sandoz, the generic unit of drug giant Novartis AG. Both companies said they haven’t received any reports of patient harm. Some other manufacturers have stopped shipping their product to pharmacies.

The recalled Apotex products are sold at and labeled by Walgreens, Walmart and Rite-Aid, according to the FDA.

Some manufacturers of the drug have stopped distribution. Health officials say concerned patients should consult their doctor.

Sanofi, which makes brand name Zantac, said Monday it’s working with the FDA and doing its own investigation. But it has not stopped selling Zantac in the U.S.

The FDA has asked makers of ranitidine medications to test levels of NDMA in their products and to send samples to the agency.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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