Tanzania Medicines and Medical Devices Authority – TMDA has instructed all patients taking heartburn drugs with the active ranitidine ingredient to stop their course of treatment immediately. Patients need to report to any nearby health facility as authorities have raised concerns about the drugs.
TMDA said the drugs with the trade names Raniplex 150mg, Rantac 500mg/mL and Aciloc 150mg which is registered for use in the country contain an impurity that can cause cancer. So these drugs in the form of tablets and solutions for injections is to control heartburn. Furthermore, they prevent stomach and intestinal ulcers and other stomach conditions.
TMDA’s decision comes after several international medicine agencies warned that drugs containing ranitidine were not safe for use anymore. Such drugs are subject to further investigation.
Earlier in October, warnings came from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the United States Food and Drugs Administration (USFDA). Further warnings have come from Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA – Australia) and SwissMedic (Switzerland).
Tanzania’s TMDA has become the latest to ban the drugs from further sales and prescription.
Also, the United States, European Union countries, Canada and France have already announced ranitidine recalls. So, the US and the European Union have launched an investigation into medicine.
In a statement, the acting director-general of TMDA said: “The authority has investigated the safety of these products in collaboration with the manufacturers. Based on the findings of the investigation, TMDA has decided to suspend the registration and use of all medicines containing the active ingredient ranitidine until further notice”.
“Healthcare providers will stop prescribing concerned medicines. They are required to prescribe alternative medications that will be registered by TMDA,” the statement reads.