The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday said the heartburn drug Zantac should immediately be pulled from shelves and consumers should dispose of any pills or liquid they have at home.
During safety tests last summer, extremely high levels of the contaminant NDMA, believed to be a carcinogen, were discovered in samples of the drug. The active ingredient in Zantac is ranitidine, and the FDA said that over time, NDMA appears as an impurity in ranitidine in levels exceeding federal standards, NPR reports.
The FDA issued a warning last September, and CVS, Walgreens, and Walmart removed the drug and its generic forms from stores. Since then, the agency has confirmed that the issue is how ranitidine naturally breaks down in normal storage conditions, and has nothing to do with the way it is manufactured.
"We didn't observe unacceptable levels of NDMA in many of the samples that we tested," the FDA's Janet Woodcock said in a statement Wednesday. "However, since we don't know how or for how long the product might have been stored, we decided that it should not be available to consumers and patients unless its quality can be assured." Catherine Garcia
On Friday, Samsung halted sales of its flagship smartphone, the Galaxy Note 7, issuing what amounts to a recall in 10 countries, including the U.S. and South Korea but not China. Samsung rolled out the Note 7 just two weeks ago, on Aug. 19, to mostly positive reviews, and since then several users have reported the phone catching on fire or exploding after being plugged in. "We have received several reports of battery explosion on the Note 7," Koh Dong-jin, the president of Samsung's mobile business, told reporters Friday morning, "and it has been confirmed that it was a battery cell problem."
Samsung says it has manufactured 2.5 million Note 7s and sold more than a million, and that the problem was with one of the two companies that makes its battery cells. Customers will be able to swap their phones for a new device, a process that will take about two weeks. Samsung confirmed 35 cases of burning Note 7s worldwide. "This is an extraordinary decision for a tech giant to make based on so few reported incidents," says BBC technology reporter Zoe Kleinman. "It's bad timing so soon after a big product launch and especially given that Samsung's rival Apple is understood to be preparing to unveil a new iPhone" on Sept. 7. You can learn more in the CNN report below. Peter Weber