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Generic Zantac sold at major US stores recalled over cancer concerns

The voluntary recall comes after health officials said they were investigating low levels of a 'probable' cancer-causing chemical in the heartburn medication.

A drugmaker has announced they are recalling some generic versions of the popular heartburn medication Zantac sold at Walgreens, Walmart, and Rite-Aid over concerns about a potentially dangerous contaminant. 

The voluntary recall comes after French officials this week recalled all brand name and generic versions of Zantac. 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration 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. 

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. 

Additionally, CVS has responded to the recall by suspending the sale of all Zantac brand and CVS Health brand ranitidine products until further notice. These products were not included in the recall, but the company said in a statement that "the action is being taken out of an abundance of caution." 

According to the FDA, consumers taking these recalled generic Zantac pills should consider using other over-the-county products approved for their conditions. 

RELATED: Blood pressure medication recall for cancer risk expanded

Consumers can see a full list of the recalled ranitidine tablets on the FDA's website.  

The FDA is investigating the carcinogen levels but hasn't required any recalls yet. It has also asked manufacturers of brand-name and generic Zantac to test their own products for NDMA, Bloomberg reported

RELATED: FDA: 'probable' cancer-causing chemical found in popular heartburn drug

A spokesperson for Sanofi, which makes the brand-name drug Zantac, told USA TODAY that it has no plans to stop shipments in the USA. The spokesperson noted that the levels of NDMA that the FDA found "barely exceed amounts found in common foods." 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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