Zantac Litigation Update: Latest Developments

Latest Developments in the Zantac Litigation

The mass action litigation against the makers of the popular antacid medication Zantac is still in the early stages. On April 1, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an immediate market withdrawal request of all ranitidine-based medications including Zantac. Several months prior to the recall announcement, FDA scientists launched an investigation into the link between Zantac and multiple forms of cancer. Researchers reported finding that Zantac tablets contain high levels of a known carcinogen N-Nitrosodimethylamine, commonly known as NDMA.

Prior the FDA recall, over the counter ranitidine products were commonly used by patients for heartburn relief. Prescription strength Zantac was used to treat and prevent stomach ulcers as well as gastroesophageal reflux disease.

Zantac Injury Criteria Established by Plaintiffs’ Leadership

In preparation for the Daubert hearings, the group of plaintiffs’ attorneys leading the Zantac MDL narrowed the scope of cancer types that can be filed. The causal link between these 10 cancer types is stronger than the cancer types that are not being accepted as fileable cases.

Following are the 10 cancer types that are currently being accepted as compensable cases.

  • Bladder
  • Breast
  • Colorectal
  • Esophageal
  • Gastric or stomach
  • Kidney
  • Liver
  • Lung
  • Pancreatic
  • Prostate

Zantac Bellwether Trials on the Horizon

Attorneys close to the litigation expect the first trials to begin as early as late 2021 or early 2022. The bellwether trials will offer a first glimpse into what kind of settlement plaintiffs can anticipate. While several thousand plaintiffs have come forward to file claims, experts believe that many thousands more will surface over the coming months due to the widespread use of Zantac and ranitidine.

Prior to the FDA recall, doctors wrote more than 15 million prescriptions for Zantac every year. Countless additional patients bought ranitidine over the counter in the non-prescription form. In February 2020, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation created MDL 2924 to consolidate pretrial discovery for the flood of expected Zantac cancer cases.

NDMA’s Long History as a Well-Known Carcinogen

As early as 1980, scientific research demonstrated probable links between cancer and NDMA. Plaintiffs’ attorneys have uncovered mounting evidence indicating that the two big pharma drug companies making Zantac concealed this information from Zantac users and the medical community. Drug manufacturers Sanofi and Beohringer Ingelheim were two of the largest producers of Zantac and ranitidine products.

A research study spearheaded by Valisure in 2019 provided undeniable evidence linking Zantac and ranitidine to NDMA across a wide sampling of the medication. Valisure filed a petition with the FDA to have Zantac pulled from the market. Valisure’s research along with supporting research from Stanford University scientists found that NDMA was the result of “inherent instability” of the ranitidine molecule. The research concluded that all manufacturers, branded and generic, and all lots of ranitidine-containing medications are affected and can generate very high levels of NDMA in the human body.


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