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Health Ministry recalls ranitidine medications, drugs said to contain cancer-causing chemical

Zantac and Ranitidine Capsules are among the drugs recalled.

The Ministry of Health has issued a recall on ranitidine medications in the British Virgin Islands.

Randintine — a stomach acid production medication that is sold under the trade name Zantac and other brands — was recalled because of reports that the drug contains a semi-volatile, cancer-causing chemical. 

These reports came from several reputable international health organisations which have singled out all ranitidine medications made by the companies Apotex Corp, Sanoz Inc, Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline.

“The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in the United Kingdom and other regulators have indicated that some ranitidine medicines, including brand and generic, contain a nitrosamine impurity called N-Nitrosodimethylamine, which has been classified as a probable human carcinogen by the World Health Organization,” said a media release from the ministry on Thursday, October 24.

Dispensing of drug to be discontinued

Chief of Drugs and Pharmaceutical Services, Gracia Wheatley-Smith said that the ministry is urging all businesses — whether supermarkets or pharmacies — to immediately discontinue from dispensing these products.

She said that all affected products should be placed in quarantine until contact is made with the various suppliers for further instructions.

Consult Physicians

The ministry is further advising patients and all pregnant women to refrain from taking Ranitidine, and instead consult their physician for an alternative treatment for any illnesses that require the usage of this drug.

Persons who may have recently taken the drug and are experiencing any problems as a result are also asked to contact their physician.

What is Ranitidine used for?

According to the aforesaid media release, “ranitidine medication is prescribed for the treatment of ulcers, reflux esophagitis, Zollinger-Ellison syndrome and other conditions”. 

“It is also used for the relief of heartburn associated with acid indigestion and sour stomach brought on by food or drink that irritates the stomach,” the release further said.

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3 Comments

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  1. Concerned says:

    Hoping this is not just a smoke sceen, but an invasive and thorough inquiry into every single drug entering the territory.
    Kudos Health Minister.

  2. Think says:

    The presence of a carcinogenic substance does not equal risk. Risk depends on dose and duration. Many natural substances (e.g.mushrooms, teas, coffee, etc. ) contain them. They are not an issue because most of us don’t consume them in excessive quantity. Most cancer studies involve very high doses over a lifetime. Saccharin was declared carcinogenic 40 years ago, but for an individual to have exposures of the same magnitude as in the study, they’d be drinking a can of tab every 5 minutes of the day 24/7. No one can do that, which is why it’s still possible to buy saccharin sweetened drinks.

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    • THINK! says:

      The problem is, is that we get small doses in many foods, drugs and products that over time can cause a health risk. When you take this chemical and layer it on top of pesticides, food additives and parabens, we have a problem.

      Please do not use my board name, get your own.

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