CVS suspends sale of Zantac, generic ranitidine products amid cancer concerns

File photo (Jonathan Weiss/

CVS Pharmacy made the announcement Saturday that it has suspended the sale of all Zantac brand and CVS Health brand ranitidine products until further notice following a recent alert from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration over ties to a “probable human carcinogen.”

The company said the action was out of an "abundance of caution."

U.S. health officials said earlier this month they were investigating low levels of NDMA, a "probable" cancer-causing chemical, in the medication. It's the same chemical impurity that's led to dozens of blood pressure medication recalls since July 2018. With the blood pressure recalls, experts have said it's important to note it would likely take years of exposure to develop cancer from the medication.

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The FDA says over-the-counter ranitidine products are “used to prevent and relieve heartburn associated with acid ingestion and sour stomach.”

CVS said the Zantac brand products and store ranitidine products haven’t been recalled and said the FDA is not recommending that patients stop taking ranitidine at this time.

The company says customers who purchased these products can return them to CVS for a refund.

CVS said it will continue selling other over-the-counter H2 Blockers like Pepcid, Tagamet and its generic equivalents.

The FDA said Thursday that Canadian drugmaker Apotex Inc. had decided to recall its 75 mg and 150 mg over-the-counter ranitidine tablets made for Walgreens, Walmart and Rite-Aid.