Sanofi recalls popular heartburn drug in US and Canada

WASHINGTON (AFP) – French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi on Friday said it was recalling over-the-counter heartburn medication Zantac in the United States (US) and Canada after a possible carcinogen was detected.

“As a precautionary measure, Sanofi will conduct a voluntary recall of Zantac,” the company said in a statement. “This recall is being taken due to possible contamination with a nitrosamine impurity called N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA),” which the World Health Organizations classifies as a possible carcinogen.

The decision followed reports from the US Food and Drug Administration and Health Canada released last month “alerting that some ranitidine medicines, including Zantac OTC, could contain NDMA at low levels and asked manufacturers to conduct testing,” Sanofi said, adding that “evaluations are ongoing”. Large pharmacy chains in the US like CVS and Walgreens have already taken Zantac off their shelves, local media reported.

A box of Maximum Strength Zantac tablets at a pharmacy in Miami Beach, Florida. PHOTO: AP