Across the country, lawyers are prognosticating that there will be an avalanche of Zantac lawsuits in the upcoming years according to a Law.com report. This prediction is in response to a recent discovery by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration that the heartburn drug contains an ingredient that may cause cancer. This revelation caused Sanofi, the manufacturer of Zantac, to recall the drug.
Lawsuits Already Filed:
As of now, approximately a dozen lawsuits have been filed against Safoni. These include consumer class actions as well as individual cases. All the cases allege Safoni, as well as other drug manufacturers, were aware that ranitidine – the active ingredient in many heartburn medications – could cause cancer. Studies have shown that ranitidine metabolizes in the body into N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) – a known possible carcinogen. Ranitidine can cause unsafe levels of NDMA in the body. The lawsuits allege the drug manufacturers knew of this risk but failed to disclose it to their customers. According to the FDA, its preliminary testing found NDMA in some ranitidine medicines – including Zantac – but the investigations remain open.
The FDA found NDMA in blood pressure and heart failure medicines, such as valsartan, in 2018. The discovery prompted more than 140 lawsuits, which have now been coordinated in multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the state of New Jersey. In the valsartan lawsuits, the allegations are a manufacturing defect. The Zantac lawsuits, on the other hand, will focus on its inherent defect because of how NDMA reacts with the human body.
Hundreds of Thousands Affected:
Legal analysts predict the litigation that will ensue could be significant, as there are millions of people who take Zantac, which first began selling back in 1983. As of now, four defendants are named in the lawsuits against manufacturers. Moreover, some legal analysts say that because the science linking NDMAs to cancer is strong and Zantac is a widely used drug, the potential for plaintiffs who can qualify in a class action lawsuit is in the hundreds of thousands. It is predicted that the lawsuits will dwarf what is happening against Monsanto for its RoundUp product that has been linked to cancer.
While the FDA disclosed its investigation of the presence of NDMA in ranitidine medications, it did not go so far as to recommend customers to stop using them. The drugmaker Novartis, however, announced it would stop distributing its generic ranitidine medications. Additionally, CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreens and Walmart voluntarily pulled ranitidine products, including Zantac, off of its shelves. Thereafter, GlaxoSmithKline recalled its prescription Zantac and Sanofi recalled its over-the-counter Zantac.
NDMA has been linked to numerous cancers including those of the bladder, colon, esophagus, kidney, liver, prostrate, and stomach.