MoH suspends registration, importation and distribution of medicines containing ranitidine
Ministries of health in the UAE and Saudi Arabia have suspended ranitidine, the generic version of the Sanofi stomach drug Zantac, as a precautionary measure over possible links to cancer.
Ranitidine, known commercially as Zantac, is a drug that is used to treat and prevent ulcers and acidity in the stomach.
The UAE's Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) issued a circular to all health facilities and practitioners, informing them about the precautionary suspension of the registration, importation and distribution of all medicines containing ranitidine.
The ministry said its decision is based on the recommendations of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the Health Canada regarding the possible contamination of the medicine with NDMA impurity (N-nitrosodimethylamine), which is classified potentially carcinogenic to human based on laboratory tests.
In the circular, the ministry said it does not recommend patients to stop taking ranitidine, but called on patients wishing to stop taking ranitidine - due to possible contamination - to consult a healthcare professional for replacement, in line with the recommendation of the international drug agencies.
Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Health and Community Protection also suspended distribution of Zantac.