Judge Blocks Some Claims in Zantac Cancer MDL

A judge blocked some claims in nationwide Zantac lawsuits.

Plaintiffs in Zantac cancer litigation recently experienced a setback. A federal judge threw out a number of claims filed under states' laws. According to the court, the plaintiffs' claims were barred by federal law. The plaintiffs are free to file different, narrower claims in the future.

The Zantac Case So Far

  • All forms of Zantac were recalled in April 2020.
  • Scientific reports claim the heartburn drug contains a carcinogen.
  • Some reports show the carcinogen levels increasing with time.
  • 500+ consumers have filed lawsuits claiming Zantac caused their cancers. These cases are currently making their way through the courts.

If you or a loved one developed cancer after taking Zantac, you may have legal options. You should request a free, no-obligation Zantac lawsuit consultation here.

Zantac Claims Filed Under State Law Invalid Under Federal Law

Zantac cancer lawsuits were consolidated via multidistrict litigation (MDL) in February 2020. They now form MDL 2924, which currently has more than 500 cases. These lawsuits center around the issue of Zantac containing an undeclared carcinogen.

Plaintiffs have made a number of allegations against drug manufacturers, including:

  • Personal injury
  • Negligence
  • Violation of consumer protection laws
  • Design defects

The court's recent ruling dealt with claims filed under state laws. Plaintiffs argued manufacturers of ranitidine (generic Zantac):

  • designed a defective product
  • failed to warn consumers about it

However, the court ruled these claims invalid. Manufacturers were effectively barred by federal law from addressing the defective design or warning consumers.

Plaintiffs' attorneys disagreed. They said manufacturers could have changed the expiration date on the drug without violating the law. If the drug had expired sooner, it would have posed less of a threat. This is due to evidence showing carcinogen levels in the drug increase over time.

Plaintiffs Attempted to Make Contradictory Zantac Claims

Apart from finding the claims invalid, the court also accused plaintiffs of making contradictory Zantac claims. Under court precedent, plaintiffs cannot make contradictory claims within the same case.

The court noted plaintiffs claimed the drug was defective at the time of manufacture. This claim stands in opposition to the plaintiffs claim about expiration dates. If the drug was dangerous at the date of manufacture, shortening the time before expiration would not render it safe.

Therefore, these state law-related claims were dismissed.

Plaintiffs Have 30 Days to Re-Plead

At this time, it is unclear how attorneys for the plaintiffs will proceed. The court gave a 30-day deadline to file narrower claims. Some reports have suggested plaintiffs will target labeling changes manufacturers could have made legally.

There are still a number of pending claims related to federal law. These federal claims were not addressed in the ruling discussed above. We will continue covering breaking news related to Zantac litigation here in the news section.

Authored by Katy Moncivais, Ph.D.Medical Editor
Photo of Katy Moncivais, Ph.D.
Katy Moncivais holds a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from The University of Texas at Austin. She’s an experienced Regenerative Medicine Consultant with a demonstrated history of working in the hospital & healthcare industry. Skilled in adult stem cells, medical devices, biomechanics, bacterial and mammalian cell culture, and regenerative medicine, she provides guidance on an array of topics affecting consumers. In her role at ConsumerSafety.org, Dr. Moncivais works alongside the writing and research staff to help deliver fact-based news stories to consumers. Her unique professional history alongside her rigorous educational background allows her to contribute to a variety of consumer-focused topics with a fresh perspective. In addition, Dr. Moncivais reviews portions of medically driven content to ensure scientific accuracy.
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