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CVS pulls Zantac and its generic brand over possible link to cancer

Zantac pulled by CVS over known carcinogen
CVS pulls Zantac after traces of known carcinogen 00:30

CVS Pharmacy announced it's pulling the heartburn medication Zantac from its shelves over a possible link to cancer. The popular over-the-counter drug and CVS' own generic brand — ranitidine — will not be carried in the stores moving forward after trace amounts of a known carcinogen were found by health officials.

An official recall of Zantac has not been issued, CBS New York reports.

Earlier this month, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said some of the pills tested contained small amounts of N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA).

NDMA can be harmful in large amounts, but the levels the FDA found in preliminary tests of ranitidine "barely exceed amounts you might expect to find in common foods," according to a statement from Dr. Janet Woodcock, research director for the agency's Centers for Drug Evaluation and Research.

The FDA said people shouldn't panic, but suggests switching to another over-the-counter drug while the agency tests more samples.

Drugmaker Novartis had already announced it will no longer distribute generic versions of Zantac due to the discovery. Sandoz, the division of Novartis that makes a generic version of Zantac said it "has not received any reports of adverse events related to use of the product as part of this recall. Patients should consult with their physician and/or pharmacy for alternative treatment options."

Sanofi, the company who makes the name-brand Zantac medication, released this statement Saturday:

The FDA reported that the levels of N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) in ranitidine in preliminary tests barely exceed amounts found in common foods. 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. At Sanofi, we remain committed to being transparent with our patients and consumers and will share an update when one is available. There are currently no plans to stop distributing or manufacturing Zantac or other ranitidine products outside of Canada.

Packages and pills of Zantac sit on a table. The FDA suggests people switch to another over-the-counter drug while the agency tests more samples. Getty
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