UAE ensures popular diabetes medication is free of cancer-linked NDMA
The health ministry requires all suppliers of metformin tablets to submit a certificate proving that their products do not have NDMA.
The UAE’s Ministry of Health and Prevention (Mohap) has taken all measures to make sure that pharmacies in the country do not have the metformin tablets (500mg) that contain NDMA, a chemical linked to cancer.
Metformin is a prescription drug found in several medications that are used to treat type 2 diabetes.
In a statement, the health ministry said steps had been taken after the manufacturing company ‘Nostrum Laboratories’ had voluntarily recalled two batches of its metformin tablets, due to the presence of NDMA, which is classified as a probable human carcinogen, based on results of laboratory tests.
Mohap underlined that the drug is not registered in the UAE and has not entered the country, after having checked the official import system.
Advice to patients, doctors
Dr Amin Hussein Al Amiri, assistant undersecretary of Mohap’s Public Health Policy and Licences, advised patients not to stop taking metformin tablets except under the supervision of their physicians. He also called on doctors to prescribe metformin as usual, until they get updated information from the ministry.
“Mohap has issued a circular to the manufacturing companies of metformin to provide a complete analysis report of the active ingredient and the final product. The analysis should be conducted in an accredited laboratory, while adopting the recommendations of the FDA in terms of the NDMA impurity testing and analysis. This comes as part of the ministry’s strategy to build quality and safety for therapeutic, healthcare, and pharmaceutical systems according to international standards,” added Al Amiri.
Mohap’s circular also required all suppliers of metformin tablets to submit a certificate of analysis proving that their products are free of NDMA impurities prior to importing them from abroad.
Communication with global drug authorities
Al Amiri went on to say: “The ministry deals with any drug-related circulars, warnings, and updates issued by global health authorities, where it immediately issues a circular to all health authorities and other concerned bodies if there is a need to recall these products or destroy them to maintain the health and safety of community members.”
He urged the individuals to report any side and adverse effects through the electronic system on the ministry’s website or via email email@example.com or through the smart app “UAE RADR”, noting that all the issued circulars are publicly available on Mohap’s website.
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