Diabetes drug withdrawn in Bahrain over cancer fears

NHRA advised healthcare professionals not to prescribe or dispense drugs not mentioned in the list


A key Type 2 diabetes drug has been pulled off shelves in Bahrain’s pharmacies over reports that it might contain unacceptable levels of carcinogenic impurities.

The National Health Regulatory Authority (NHRA) said yesterday the withdrawal follows a Saudi Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) announcement that Metformin tablets contained high levels of a cancer-causing ingredient Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA).

The authority also released a list of medicines that were free of NDMA, or within limits for daily consumption.

NHRA chief executive Dr Mariam Al Jalahma told the GDN that diabetic patients were safe to continue taking the medicines that were on the list.

She added that the withdrawal of the medicines from Bahrain did not necessarily mean they will cause cancer, only that they contain additional NDMA which is not within the legal limit.

The NHRA also advised healthcare professionals not to prescribe or dispense drugs not mentioned in the list.

“The NHRA has suspended and prohibited the import of all other Metformin medications till it finalises the investigations to make sure that the rest of the medications are free from the carcinogenic impurity (NDMA) or within the acceptable limits for daily consumption.”

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