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Should the Food and Drug Administration recall Metformin?

Numerous prescription and over the counter medications have been recalled due to the presence of a probable human carcinogen called N-Nitrosodimethylamine and referred to as NDMA. The recalls began with valsartan and losartan, which are popular blood pressure medications, and then expanded to over the counter heartburn medications including Zantac and its generic equivalent ranitidine. Now, Valisure, a online pharmacy, is asking the Food and Drug Administration to recall metformin, a widely used diabetes drug.

Metformin helps control blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes, and the odds are that a large number of Ohio residents who suffer from this condition take this medication. Recently, the FDA conducted testing on batches of metformin and did not find levels of NDMA above the recommended limit. Therefore, the agency did not recall any of the medication.

However, Valisure recently conducted its own testing and determined that batches from 11 manufacturers did contain higher than allowed levels of NDMA. Considering the fact that patients who take metformin will most likely need to do so for the rest of their lives, the risk of developing cancer is a real concern. This is why the online pharmacy is urging recalls based on its test results.

Some would say that the Food and Drug Administration takes too long to initiate recalls of medications containing NDMA. Perhaps the agency needs to make sure it considers all aspects of a potential recall before doing so since the risk to patients could be worse by simply not taking the medication. On the other hand, yet another recall of a popular medication could have a significant impact on the pharmaceutical industry. The bottom line is that Ohio residents who take metformin could potentially end up with cancer from the presence of NDMA, and they deserve to know the danger exists and for something to be done to make the drug safer.

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