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Walgreens, Walmart, and Rite Aid Pull Zantac Upon Cancer Worries

Drugmakers are recalling generic versions of heartburn drug Zantac sold at Walgreens, Walmart and Rite Aid over concerns the medications contain a probable carcinogen.

Drug manufacturer Apotex said it's recalling 75 mg and 150 mg ranitidine tablets sold over the counter at the three chain pharmacies because the drugs might contain low levels of the cancer-causing impurity NDMA.


The Walgreens versions of recalled products are sold under the store brand name Wal-Zan. The Walmart and Rite Aid labeled versions are described as ranitidine tablets. Consumers can see a list of recalled products here.



Tuesday, Novartis-owned Sandoz recalled 30-count, 50-count and 500-count bottles of ranitidine capsules prescribed to treat ulcers and reflux. The recall follows the company's announcement last week that it would halt shipments of the stomach-acid-reducing drugs.


The recalls follow a Food and Drug Administration announcement this month about unacceptable levels of the probable carcinogen NDMA in the heartburn drug Zantacand its generic versions. The agency is testing Zantac and its generic versions but has not asked drugmakers to recall the products.


Zantac, the brand-name version of the drug, is sold by Sanofi, but generic versions are widely sold.This month, the drug maker Novartis said that its generic-drug division, Sandoz, had stopped distributing a prescription form of ranitidine worldwide while it investigates the F.D.A.’s findings. GlaxoSmithKline has also stopped shipping its generic version of the drug, as well as Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, a major generic manufacturer.


The companies, including Sanofi, have stopped short of recalling their products in the United States. In a statement on Monday, Sanofi said that the levels of the contaminant that the F.D.A. had found in “preliminary tests barely exceed amounts found in common foods.”

The company added: “We are working closely with the F.D.A. and are conducting our own robust investigations to ensure we continue to meet the highest quality safety and quality standards.”


Last week, Apotex, which makes store-branded versions of Zantac for Walgreens, Walmart and Rite-Aid, recalled its ranitidine products.

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