The Ministry of Health would like to provide the following update on the subject of the voluntary recall of Zantac.
Since the announcement from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last month (September), the Ministry of Health has been in communication with our primary suppliers of medicines, that is, the Organization of the Eastern Caribbean States – Pooled Procurement Services (OECS-PPS) based in St. Lucia.
We have since been advised and can categorically state that the brands affected by the voluntary recall are NOT IMPORTED BY OUR SUPPLIERS AND AS SUCH ARE NOT BEING PRESCRIBED IN OUR HOSPITALS AND CLINICS.
Furthermore an investigation carried out by our pharmacy department found that the brands of Zantac subjected to the voluntary recall are NOT BEING IMPORTED BY PRIVATE PHARMACIES ON THE ISLAND.
The Ministry of Health therefore reassures all concerned that it will continue to monitor the situation as it evolves and will keep the public duly informed of developments as they occur.
In September 2019, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that preliminary tests found low levels of N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) in ranitidine, a heartburn medication. Reports are that the FDA has found a probable human carcinogen (a substance that could cause cancer) in some brands of ranitidine.
Ranitidine (also known by its brand name, Zantac, is available both over the counter (OTC) and by prescription. While (OTC) ranitidine is commonly used to relieve and prevent heartburn, prescription strengths are also used to treat and prevent more serious ulcers in the stomach and intestines. Multiple companies sell generic versions of both the OTC and prescription products.
Following the announcement from the FDA, manufactures of the brands of ranitidine in which the low levels of (NDMA) was found have initiated a voluntary recall of the medication.
The FDA and other agencies around the world will continue to investigate ranitidine and more details will be made available. In the meantime, the FDA is not calling for individuals to stop taking the medication.