I received this from an anonymous reader.
I noted with interest recently the complete unavailability of the common, OTC indigestion relief medication, commonly known as zantac 75mg, which used to be sold in Tesco, Spar and others in generic form for around £1 for a pack.
I have searched and note that it’s totally unavailable whether OTC or by prescription and on investigation also noted a complete recall by MHRA of all stock, starting in September 2019 to April 2020, coinciding with covid lockdown scare from March onwards.
I also then noted looking further that as an H2 receptor blocker, it appears successful in early covid symptom relief, reducing the risk of cytokine storm or related inflammatory damage, as well as treatment for the suggested condition long covid.
They claim there was a ‘risk’ that stock ‘may’ have been slightly contaminated with a chemical that may cause cancer, hence the recall, however it appears it was unlikely to be a major risk and that patients should talk to doctor about alternatives; then all stock was withdrawn and patients moved over to it seems other non h2 blocker drugs ie omeprazole.
NHS advice was as below (from attached)
“There is no current advice for patients to stop taking ranitidine that is already dispensed to them, as there have been NO patient level recalls. If you receive queries about this issue from patients, advise them not to stop taking their medication as the health risk of discontinuing the medicine is higher than the potential risk presented by the contaminant.”
Within the attached document (SDA 2019) from UK government I note the following statement
“It is recommended that, where possible, patients are not switched to an alternative H2-receptor antagonist in the first instance as this may exacerbate a shortage of these products. There are currently sufficient supplies of oral omeprazole to manage an increase in demand.”
I am deeply suspicious about the timings and motives here, especially given that the drug never reappeared as new ‘clean’ batches, it seems they simply stopped production; in fact in Europe it seems the licence to produce more was suspended thereafter, which again appears strange as from what I can make out NHS was able to buy in generic 75mg packs at under 36p and the government were aware of a potential shortage of h2 type medicines.
I attach relevant papers,
My opinion, ‘I smell a rat’ as the saying goes, something wrong again I suspect, after all the planning, they couldn’t have a cheap antacid inadvertently reducing the covid hospitalizations?!