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CVS Removes Zantac

CVS, the largest pharmacy chain in the United States, made an announcement to remove the drug Zantac and its generic counterparts this past Saturday, September 28, 2019. The decision to suspend the sale of this heartburn drugs follows the concern of it being investigated for possible links to cancer. Several other countries have taken the initiative to remove the product from their shelves over the presence of ranitidine products and other impurities. In light of the recent news, health authorities have stated that there is no immediate risk at the moment, but patients are being advised to consult a doctor and request an alternative prescription to ranitidine, which is a medicine used to treat stomach acid in patients diagnosed with conditions of heartburn and stomach ulcers.

This fear of carcinogenic contaminants in the drug product spurred on September 13th when the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) published their decisions to investigate the presence of N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) in over-the-counter and prescription medicines containing ranitidine. NDMA has been classified as a “probable human carcinogen;” a conclusion that was made after conducting animal studies. Specifically, a human carcinogen is a substance that has the potential to cause cancer. Although NDMA is found in water, meats, dairy products, and vegetables, it is not projected to cause harm when ingested at extremely low levels. Nevertheless, the FDA has been looking into NDMA and other impurities that are contained in blood pressure and heart failure medicines based on lab tests that identified a probable human carcinogen.

Apart from CVS, other pharmaceutical retailers have suspended the sale of Zantac and similar products, such as Walgreens, Walmart, and Rite Aid. Numerous other countries have followed suit in doing the same, including Canada and France, but it is important to remember that Zantac products and the CVS brand ranitidine have not officially been recalled. Additionally, the FDA has not yet made the recommendation to stop taking ranitidine. However, patients are being advised to exercise caution and to discontinue taking ranitidine. The FDA announced that those taking it by prescription should contact a health professional regarding an alternative medicine and those taking it over-the-counter should also consider a different option. Consequently, customers may return the products to CVS and receive a refund.

Moving forward from this announcement, it is important to take the recommended action of discontinuing Zantac and ranitidine consumption until further notice. If you or a loved one have suffered harm or injury due to consuming these pharmaceutical drugs, you may be entitled to compensation. Our attorneys at Spiros Law, P.C. are highly skilled in handling these types of cases and understand how difficult going through something like this might be. Contact one of our attorneys today at (815) 929-9292 to receive a free consultation.