In April 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requested that all Zantac brand heartburn medication (ranitidine) be pulled from the market. This request came after an investigation revealed that some ranitidine medications contained a cancer-causing ingredient known as N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA). This carcinogen was linked to numerous cancers and the drug makers chose not to disclose this risk to either consumers or the government. Now, Zantac manufacturers are facing a slew of lawsuits from patients who suffered harm and injury after taking this medication.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with cancer after taking Zantac, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit against the manufacturers. At Coxwell & Associates, PLLC, our dangerous drug lawyers are helping victims of Zantac examine and review their legal options. A new MDL has been created to help victims of Zantac take part in a national lawsuit. Our lawyers can examine your case and help determine if you may be eligible to participate in the MDL. We charge no fees unless we are successful in obtaining a settlement for you.History of Zantac
Ranitidine was first discovered in England in the 1970s. The companies that discovered ranitidine would eventually merge into GlaxoSmithKline. It was introduced to the world in 1981 and by 1987 was the world’s biggest-selling prescription drug. Zantac dominated the market in part because of a novel marketing strategy that included celebrity media tours and consumer-awareness bulletins. They even aggressively encouraged consumers to seek out this drug from their physicians. Since 2017, the drug has been marketed by Sanofi.
It was commonly used to treat heartburn in individuals suffering from peptic ulcer disease, gastroesophageal reflux disease and Zollinger-Ellison syndrome. It works by blocking histamine, which in turn reduces the amount of acid your stomach produces. It was approved for use as a short-term drug only. This was documented in GlaxoSmithKline’s early submission documents.
However, Zantac can cause a variety of health problems on its own, including liver damage, pneumonia and stomach pain.Zantac Can Cause Cancer
When the FDA approved Zantac for use in the United States in 1983, they were unaware that it contained a cancer-causing agent. It wasn’t until July 2019 when they began to investigate NDMA found in ranitidine. In September 2019, Walmart, CVS and Walgreens all removed the drug from their shelves. In October the FDA found unacceptable levels of NDMA in samples of drugs containing ranitidine. The levels of this impurity increase over time as it is stored, especially when stored at higher than room temperatures.
What is NDMA? NDMA is a probable human carcinogen that can also cause liver damage and nervous system disorders. It is used in aviation and rocket fuel. It is also a by-product of industrial processes. It is classified as “extremely hazardous” under federal law and companies who produce, store or use this substance must report it.
While NDMA in low quantities is not expected to increase the risk of cancer in humans, high levels are. The problem arose when the FDA determined that the levels of NDMA rose over time in ranitidine and was especially dependent on how it was stored.
A recent study conducted by Valisure Online Pharmacy found that when ranitidine was exposed to the stomach fluids, high amounts of NDMA were produced. In fact, ranitidine produced 304,500 nanograms of NDMA per tablet. This is way higher than the FDA approved amount of NDMA per day which is just 96 nanograms.
High levels of NDMA have been linked to a variety of cancers, including:
- Prostate cancer
- Esophageal cancer
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Multiple myeloma
- Colon cancer
- Stomach cancer
- Intestinal cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
Soon after the voluntary recall of ranitidine and Zantac in 2019, consumers began to file lawsuits against international drug companies that manufacture ranitidine. Those include Sanofi, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceutical and Pfizer. At this time, there have not been any large settlements or trials regarding Zantac. As such, you may be able to get in on the first wave of lawsuits being filed if you have been diagnosed with cancer after taking Zantac.
In February 2020, an MDL was established for Zantac in a Florida federal country. More than 140 lawsuits are currently pending in that MDL. These lawsuits allege that pharmaceutical companies knew of the cancer-causing risks and failed to disclose those risks to the public. In addition, unlike other types of impurities which are the result of faulty manufacturing, NDMA is a part of the drug’s molecular structure. As such, experts warn that Zantac litigation could skyrocket.
If you took Zantac and were subsequently diagnosed with cancer, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit and seek compensation for the damages you suffered. Some of those damages include:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of wages
- Loss of future earnings
- Loss of enjoyment in life
- Punitive damages, if appropriate
- What should I do if I took Zantac?
If you are currently taking Zantac, it is recommended that you dispose of this drug and contact your doctor about a replacement. If you have been diagnosed with cancer, it is important to review all your legal options by contacting an experienced dangerous drug attorney immediately.
- What other illnesses does exposure to NDMA cause besides cancer?
NDMA exposure can lead to a variety of issues, such as liver damage, jaundice, reduced functioning in the lungs and kidneys, and abdominal cramps.
- How much is a Zantac case worth?
It is unknown at this time how much a Zantac case will be worth. Zantac litigation will be resolved in stages and likely include a global settlement. The cases will be ranked by severity with the most serious cases receiving the most compensation. It is best to talk with an experienced attorney to help you determine what your case might be worth.
At Coxwell Law & Associates, we are currently investigating cases of cancer in patients who took Zantac for heartburn, peptic ulcers or stomach issues. Our lawyers believe in holding negligent pharmaceutical companies accountable when they fail to disclose the dangers of their products to consumers. When they put profits before consumer health — they should be held accountable. Contact the skilled team at Coxwell & Associates, PLLC at (877) 231-1600 for a free initial consultation and review of your case. We can help you review your legal options and determine if you can take part in pending national litigation.