Walmart suspended sales of Zantac, a popular heartburn medication, over concerns it might contain a substance that could cause cancer.
The company also suspended sales of other products containing Ranitidine.
The suspension was across all stores, clubs, and online.
Walmart said in a statement that the action was taken after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said that ranitidine products may contain a low level of nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), the carcinogen.
Customers who purchased these products may return them to Walmart or Sam’s Club for a refund.
Walmart’s announcement came after CVS and Walgreens stopped selling Zantac and the generic version of the medication.
Landing pages for the medication show the message: “This product is no longer available on our site.”
“This action is being taken out of an abundance of caution due to a recent Product Alert from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that ranitidine products may contain a low level of nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), which is a probable human carcinogen,” CVS said in a Sept. 28 statement.
“Zantac brand products and CVS brand ranitidine products have 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.”
The FDA said in an Oct. 2 update that it’s continuing to test products containing ranitidine and is assessing the potential impact on patients who have been taking ranitidine.
The agency has asked companies that manufacture ranitidine to conduct their own laboratory tests.
A week prior, the agency alerted people to a voluntary recall of over-the-counter ranitidine tablets from Walgreens, Walmart, and Rite-Aid.
Earlier in September, the agency said that it learned that “some ranitidine medicines, including some products commonly known as the brand-name drug Zantac, contain a nitrosamine impurity called N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) at low levels.”
“NDMA is classified as a probable human carcinogen (a substance that could cause cancer) based on results from laboratory tests. NDMA is a known environmental contaminant and found in water and foods, including meats, dairy products, and vegetables,” it said.
“The FDA is not calling for individuals to stop taking ranitidine at this time; however, patients taking prescription ranitidine who wish to discontinue use should talk to their health care professional about other treatment options,” the FDA said.
Novartis said it would not distribute generic versions of Zantac after the FDA’s announcement.
Sanofi, the company that makes Zantac, said in a statement over the weekend: “The FDA reported that the levels of N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) in ranitidine in preliminary tests 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 added, “At Sanofi, we remain committed to being transparent with our patients and consumers and will share an update when one is available. There are currently no plans to stop distributing or manufacturing Zantac or other ranitidine products outside of Canada.”