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Ranitidine and norethisterone among medicines that cannot leave UK

Ranitidine joins a growing list of medicines facing export restrictions
Ranitidine joins a growing list of medicines facing export restrictions

The Department of Health and Social Care (DH) has added ranitidine and norethisterone to the list of medicines that cannot be exported from the UK.

Wholesalers are also restricted from exporting alprostadil and QVAR (beclometasone dipropionate) from today (October 18), the DH announced.

They join 19 hormone replacement therapies, adrenaline auto-injectors, emergency hormonal contraception levonorgestrel and hepatitis B vaccines in a growing list of medicines now subject to exporting restrictions.

Oral ranitidine shortage

The DH’s announcement follows a supply disruption notice earlier this week (October 15), in which it alerted pharmacists that all oral formulations of ranitidine are anticipated to be out of stock due to an ongoing quarantine. It does not know when they will be available again.

An investigation by Swiss and German regulatory agencies and the US Food and Drug Administration identified “a contaminant, N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), a probable human carcinogen, in samples of ranitidine active substance”, the DH explained.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) asked all UK manufacturers “using [the] active ingredient from this source” to quarantine their products while investigations are ongoing. Teva has so far recalled batches of its ranitidine effervescent tablets 150 micrograms and 300mg, while GlaxoSmithKline has recalled four Zantac products.

The DH’s notice includes a table to help healthcare professionals decide on a suitable alternative treatment for their patients.

What do you make of the export restrictions?

Joan Richardson, Locum pharmacist

There was a notice from the Department of Health and Social Care on October 15th asking that all ranitidine products be quarantined.  According to the notice, at that time there were 3 manufacturere whose stock was not involved but it didn't tell you which ones!  It also said that investigations were ongoing and those 3 manufacturers could actually be involved in the health scare.

I had to fax a copy of the notice to a local surgery yesterday as I was trying to get an alternative prescription for a patient and they were only aware of the situation regarding Zantac.

N O, Pharmaceutical Adviser

"""The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) asked all UK manufacturers using ranitidine as an active substance to quarantine their products while investigations are ongoing.""""

Could the Editor please share a link to this claim??

As far as I am aware, it is only Zantac 150 & 300 and Teva effervescent tablets, so far have been asked to be quarantined and NOT ALL RANITIDINE products.

, Primary care pharmacist

Google mhra ranitidine generic October 2019

Or check with your CCG as they circulated the info on friday

James Waldron, Editorial


More information on the MHRA quarantine can be found in the DH link in the story, namely: "The MHRA has requested that all UK manufacturers using active ingredient from this source quarantine all stock whilst further investigations are ongoing."

We'll contact the MHRA for further clarification, but in the meantime I'll amend the wording in the article to more closely reflect the statement.


James Waldron, C+D Editor



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