Calgary mother Kyla Patey is speaking out after realizing she gave her six-week-old son the recalled drug ranitidine for acid reflux.
On the same day she was prescribed the drug, Health Canada issued a notice warning that the drug could increase the risk of cancer — but existing stock is still allowed to be sold.
“Having four children, you know, you’re not a first-time mom, so you’re not freaked out too much too easily. But he would cry consistently and I knew he was in pain,” Patey said.
Patey said a doctor at Alberta Children’s Hospital prescribed Jaxon the drug ranitidine on Sept. 25. Patey filled the prescription at the London Drugs pharmacy in Royal Oak.
“We’ve been giving that to him twice daily, liquid form, at the dose he’s supposed to take for the last six days,” she said.
Patey didn’t find out about the recall until her family doctor called her.
Chris Chiew, London Drugs general manager, said its pharmacy is still allowed to keep selling its existing ranitidine stock. That’s why the company said it didn’t notify patients.
“Particularly, this product — what Health Canada had issued was a safety notice… but if pharmacies had any stock that they could continue to sell… they would not receive any further stock until the investigation is completed,” Chiew said.
“We apologize it wasn’t better explained to the mom as to what was happening from a Health Canada issue. I understand her concern. I’m a father myself… If you just saw recall, it’s like, ‘Why did you give this to me if it’s a recall?'”
In Health Canada’s notice about the drug, it states: “The request to stop distribution means that the existing stock of ranitidine products currently available in pharmacies or at retail stores may continue to be sold. This is different from a recall since products that are being recalled can no longer be sold.
“NDMA is classified as a probable human carcinogen, which means long-term exposure to levels above what is considered safe could increase the risk of cancer.”
In a statement to Global News, Health Canada said it “plays an active role in ensuring that Canadians have access to safe and effective drugs and health products.”
“The department strives to maintain a balance between the potential health benefits and risks posed by all drugs and health products. Our highest priority in determining the balance is public safety,” Health Canada said. “The prescription of a drug by a physician falls within the practice of medicine, which is regulated at the provincial level.”
Patey is glad her son’s doctor notified her and wants to warn other parents in hopes of sparing them from the worries she’s now dealing with.
“I’ve been giving my baby for six days this medicine unknowing that I was potentially harming him further and who knows what’s going to happen in the future for him,” Patey said.