Zantac Manufacturer Facing Mounting Injury Lawsuits over NDMA and Cancer

In 1983, Zantac, also called ranitidine, was introduced in the USA and distributed by Sanofi. The main manufacturers include Glaxo-Smith Kline, Boehringer Ingelheim, and Sanofi.  It was very effective in treating acid reflux and related conditions such as ulcers. In 2019, the FDA requested that all retailers stop selling Zantac and ranitidine products. With the recall, Sanofi replaced it with Zantac 360. This drug replaced ranitidine with famotidine. This is found in other heartburn medications.

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Studies have shown that Zantac breaks down into a cancer causing agent(NDMA). It can be more dangerous for human consumption under certain conditions. If stored at high temperatures or for a long time, the cancer -causing agent increases. Once the FDA requested its removal from the shelves, it became difficult to get Zantac. In addition, the response to the request brought several lawsuits.

The cases that have been filed against the Defendants involve product liability cases. The victims are alleging that the manufacturers of both Zantac and ranitidine created a dangerous drug. The Defendants knew it was harmful, but did not label it or warn the victims about the potential harm. If proven that the drug caused cancer, the victims will seek compensation for past and future medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

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Presently, there are many state lawsuits against the makers and sellers of Zantac. There are also about 2,000 federal cases. The federal cases have been combined into Multidistrict Litigation (MDL). MDL is not a class action as the victims all have different outcomes. If settled, each victim will get a different amount of compensation based on their individual injuries. The combining of these cases will expedite litigation. These cases are under the jurisdiction of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. The federal judge handling the case is Chief Judge K. Michael Moore. Victims from any part of the country may be eligible to join but there is a statute of limitations that must be strictly followed. They are expected to begin a trial in October of 2022 while some state cases may start sooner. The federal cases are in a pretrial posture. This is the part of the case where both sides obtain information from the other. What claims are the victims trying to prove?

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Defective Design

Zantac and ranitidine were defectively designed because:

  1. The defect poses a foreseeable risk; and
  2. The drug was made and used in the way it was supposed to be 

Defectively designed drugs are inherently unsafe. The original chemical formulation is the issue. Ranitiden has NDMA which is a carcinogen. Zantac pills may have NDMA in the pill itself. Ranitidine may cause NDMA to develop in the human body. Either argument would cause a defective design.

Failure to Warn

Drug companies must warn doctors and consumers about  dangers and side effects. This allows people to make an informed decision about whether the drug will work for them. Zantac did not mention NDMA or any carcinogenic risks. Thus, there was a failure to warn. To be included in the state or MDL claims, a victim has to be diagnosed with cancer and less than 89 years old. They must also have receipts, medical records, or a prescription for Zantac. Attorneys will not accept victims who have taken a generic drug. There must be a link between the victim’s cancer and the drug. The victim must have taken the drug at least once a week for one year and prove that the use of Zantac was within 20 years of their cancer diagnosis. Cancers include, stomach, esophageal, bladder, liver, and pancreatic cancers. Due to the complicated nature of these claims, if you suffer from one of these cancers and took Zantac, you should talk to a product liability or personal injury attorney. 

About the Authors: Sawan & Sawan is a multi-generational, family owned law firm practicing law in the areas of car accidents, truck accidents, insurance claims, personal injury, and more. Our firm practices law in Ohio (Toledo, Columbus), Georgia, and Michigan.

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Dennis P. Sawan

Partner

Licensed in Ohio and Georgia

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Christopher A. Sawan

Partner

Licensed in Ohio and Michigan

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