Walmart Inc on Wednesday became one of the last remaining major USA retailers to suspend the sale of over-the-counter heartburn medication containing ranitidine after the US health agency flagged the presence of a probable cancer-causing impurity. Customers can return the products to Walmart or Sam's Club stores for a refund. "CVS Pharmacy will continue to sell other over-the-counter H2 Blockers, including Pepcid, Tagamet and its respective generic equivalents, famotidine and cimetidine". Likewise, Walgreens released a statement saying that it would be removing medications from shelves until the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) completes its review of the products.
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CVS, the largest pharmacy chain in the country, said over the weekend it was suspending sale of Zantac and other products which contain ranitidine until further notice.
Drugmaker Sandoz is recalling ranitidine hydrochloride capsules in the United States because of confirmed contamination with the probable human carcinogen.
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Some of the heartburn drugs containing the key ingredient ranitidine were found to have traces of the impurity, N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), leading to Novartis AG halting global distribution of its versions of the popular drug commonly known as Zantac.
Since past year, the FDA has been investigating NDMA and other impurities in blood pressure and heart failure medicines known as angiotensin receptor blockers or ARBs. However, it did note that an assessment of long-term cancer risk is required.
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