CVS halts sales of heartburn drug Zantac over cancer concerns

CVS halts sales of heartburn drug Zantac over cancer concerns
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CVS is halting sales of the over-the-counter heartburn drug Zantac and its generic equivalent because of concerns they contain low levels of a cancer-causing chemical. 

The drugstore chain said in a statement over the weekend that it is taking the step “out of an abundance of caution” due to a recent alert from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 

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The FDA warned that Zantac, which contains ranitidine, could contain low levels of the carcinogen nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA). 

CVS noted that the drug has not been recalled and “the FDA is not recommending that patients stop taking ranitidine at this time.” 

“However, customers who purchased these products can return them to CVS for a refund,” it added. 

Sanofi, the company that makes Zantac, said in a statement that the FDA has found the amounts of the carcinogen NDMA in its drug “barely exceed amounts found in common foods.”

“We are working closely with the FDA and are conducting our own robust investigations to ensure we continue to meet the highest quality safety and quality standards,” the company said.

The FDA said last week it was “continuing to test” the drug to determine its safety. It said patients “could consider” taking other over-the-counter heartburn drugs instead. 

A spokesman for Walgreens also told NBC News that the chain would stop selling Zantac and generic versions of the drug.

--This report was updated at 3:42 p.m.