The multidistrict litigation (MDL) process allows courts to streamline lawsuits with common questions of fact. Unlike a class action lawsuit, the MDL process keeps the cases separate.
Thousands of people have filed Zantac lawsuits, claiming the heartburn drug caused their cancer. Tests recently showed a cancer-causing substance (NDMA) in the drug. NDMA was also found in ranitidine, the generic form of Zantac.
Plaintiffs claim the carcinogen-containing drug caused a variety of cancers. They also say manufacturers concealed this risk. Zantac users and their loved ones may be able to file personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits. An experienced lawyer can help.
ALERT: All Zantac and ranitidine products have been recalled. Zantac and ranitidine are currently unavailable in the U.S.
What is Zantac?
Zantac is a drug that treats conditions caused by excess stomach acid. It is also known as generic ranitidine, named after its active ingredient. Zantac was available in prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) forms.
All Zantac products were recalled from the U.S. market after tests found unacceptable levels of NDMA in the drug. It is no longer available for sale in this country.
NDMA probably causes cancer in humans. Learn more about this in the FAQ section below.
How Much Carcinogen Were You Exposed To?
As shown in the infographic below, recalled Zantac products exposed users to high levels of carcinogen. The FDA’s data show NDMA at almost 10x the safe level.
An independent drug-testing company named Valisure also tested the drug. Their data showed the carcinogen ranging from 3,000x to 30,000x the safe level.
You can estimate how much carcinogen you may have ingested by reviewing this graph. Just look at the bar corresponding to the length of time you took a recalled ranitidine product.
The blue level in each bar represents what the FDA considers an acceptable level of carcinogen. The pink level represents the estimated amount of carcinogen you may have taken.
|We used several pieces of information to construct the NDMA exposure chart above. First, we needed to know exactly how much NDMA was found in Zantac. There are two potential sources for this information:|
For our chart calculations, we chose to use the FDA’s data. Since the FDA levels were lower, this provides a conservative estimate of NDMA exposure.
To calculate NDMA exposure over time, we assumed a person would take the maximum daily dose. We multiplied the amount of NDMA found in recalled Zantac by the number of days indicated in each chart column.
To provide reference, we also calculated the amount of NDMA a person could ingest “safely.” We used the FDA’s maximum daily exposure level for NDMA (96 nanograms). We multiplied this amount by the number of days in each chart column. It is represented by the small blue portion of each exposure bar.
How High is Your Cancer Risk from Zantac?
Each Zantac user’s cancer risk will depend on a number of factors, including:
- The level of NDMA in Zantac and/or ranitidine products they used
- The length of time they used NDMA-containing Zantac
- Individual health conditions
At this time, neither the FDA nor Zantac manufacturers have estimated the true cancer risk of Zantac. However, the FDA estimated the cancer risk for carcinogen-contaminated valsartan, a blood pressure drug. The agency determined that one additional cancer case would occur for every 8,000 people who took the drug for four years. It’s unknown if Zantac would have a similar outcome.
A doctor can help estimate a person’s individual risk and appropriate level of vigilance in watching for signs of cancer. If you develop cancer after taking Zantac, our attorneys can determine if you are eligible to file a lawsuit.
Which Types of Cancer Can You File a Lawsuit For?
People who took contaminated Zantac and ranitidine-containing drugs are filing lawsuits for 12 types of cancer, including stomach, intestine and bladder cancer. Here is a full list of cancer types and the associated symptoms.
|Type of Cancer||Symptoms|
|Small intestine cancer|
Manufacturers Knew About Carcinogens in Zantac and Profited Anyway
Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals
Zantac safety concerns have been making headlines for a couple of years now. But, the drug manufacturers may have known about its dangers for much longer.
According to lawsuit filings, manufacturers have known about potential Zantac dangers for almost 20 years. As early as 1982, ranitidine was linked to DNA damage in rats.
Subsequent studies gave manufacturers many opportunities to address the safety of Zantac:
- In 1982, a rat study linked ranitidine to DNA fragmentation.
- In 1983, a rat study linked DNA damage to ranitidine.
- In 2003, a study linked NDMA in drinking water to ranitidine.
- In 2004, the National Cancer Institute linked Zantac to an increased risk of bladder cancer.
- In 2016, Stanford researchers linked Zantac to increased NDMA in the body.
- In June 2019, Valisure first publicized test results showing NDMA in Zantac.
- In September 2019, Valisure filed their citizen petition with the FDA.
At almost every step, drug makers chose not to warn consumers of the potential dangers posed by NDMA in Zantac. They denied consumers the opportunity to choose a less risky heartburn treatment.
Manufacturers Made Billions from Zantac
While depriving consumers of this important information, manufacturers made billions of dollars. According to one report, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) sold $1 billion worth of Zantac by December 1986. By 1987, Zantac accounted for a third of GSK’s sales.
Competition in the market has caused a decline in Zantac sales since the 80s. But it is still a money-maker for manufacturers. According to Statista, one form of Zantac accounted for $128.9 million in sales in 2018.
Manufacturers made millions — possibly billions — of dollars selling a drug repeatedly linked to cancer.
If consumers had been warned about NDMA in Zantac, they might have chosen any of the following alternatives:
- Nexium (omeprazole, esomeprazole)
- Pepcid (famotidine)
- Prevacid (lansoprazole)
- Prilosec (omeprazole)
- Tagamet (cimetidine)
Note: Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) like Prevacid and others listed above have been linked to increased risk of COVID-19. According to Cedars-Sinai, PPI users may have 2 to 4 times the risk of testing COVID-19 positive versus non-users. You can avoid this risk, and that of Zantac, by choosing Pepcid or Tagamet instead. Pepcid and Tagamet are H2 blockers, not PPIs.
Plaintiffs Say Manufacturers Should Have Warned Consumers of Cancer Risk
Hundreds of lawsuits have now been filed against ranitidine-based product manufacturers. Many of the plaintiffs in these cases have made similar claims.
- Manufacturers failed to warn consumers of Zantac’s NDMA content and cancer risk.
- Ranitidine itself is unstable and can release NDMA as it breaks down.
- Drug makers knew ranitidine could form NDMA.
- Drug makers knew NDMA could cause cancer.
Lawsuit Highlight: Galimidi Sues Sanofi Over Breast Cancer Diagnosis
Joseph Galimidi began using Zantac to treat heartburn and acid reflux in 2009. He was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013. Galimidi claims Zantac caused him to develop breast cancer. He filed a lawsuit against the drug manufacturer Sanofi. The lawsuit requests damages related to Galimidi’s cancer diagnosis.
Galimidi’s lawsuit also claims manufacturers knew the risks of NDMA in Zantac but chose to hide them from the public.
Lawsuit Highlight: Blake Sues Manufacturers for Bladder Cancer Diagnosis
Mark Allen Blake filed a lawsuit against multiple Zantac and ranitidine manufacturers in October 2019. Blake began using Zantac in 1996. He used the drug four times per week for approximately 23 years.
Blake was diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2018. He learned about NDMA in Zantac from an online article in October 2019. He says he would not have taken Zantac if he had known it carried a risk of cancer. He has requested both compensatory and punitive damages.
Zantac Class Action Lawsuits, Settlements and Multidistrict Litigation
The first Zantac class action lawsuit was filed in the Northern District of California. Four plaintiffs filed a legal complaint against Sanofi and Boehringer Ingelheim. The plaintiffs claimed the two manufacturers failed to warn consumers of the established scientific link between ranitidine and NDMA. Plaintiffs say this omission misled and endangered patients.
The second class action lawsuit against ranitidine was filed on September 20, 2019. It was filed in the District of New Jersey. It listed similar allegations to the first complaint. Additional Zantac class action lawsuits have since been filed in New York and Connecticut.
A class action lawsuit groups together similar cases under one plaintiff or lead representative. This results in one legal proceeding for the group of lawsuits rather than one individual lawsuit per plaintiff.
Note: Current Zantac class actions do not require a cancer diagnosis. Anyone who used Zantac or ranitidine may be eligible to join.
Zantac Multidistrict Litigation
On February 6, 2020 the United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) acted on Zantac lawsuits. The panel chose to consolidate more than 120 cases via multidistrict litigation (MDL). This action formed MDL 2924. As of July 2020, there are more than 290 cases pending in the Zantac MDL.
Settlements and Compensation
There have been no Zantac settlements at this time. You can learn more about the types of compensation available in Zantac lawsuits here.
Zantac Lawsuit FAQs
How Much Does it Cost to File a Zantac Lawsuit?
Initially, it costs nothing to file this type of lawsuit. Zantac attorneys typically take cases on a contingency basis. This means you will not pay the lawyer anything until and unless you win your case.
Who Qualifies for a Zantac Lawsuit?
Only an experienced Zantac lawyer can determine the viability of your case. But many law firms have listed the following eligibility factors:
- Required: History of Zantac Use
Individuals who can easily prove they took Zantac or ranitidine may qualify. A prescription or a doctor’s note can suffice. For over-the-counter (OTC) ranitidine products, a receipt may be helpful.
- Required: Cancer Diagnosis
Thus far, claimants have sued over cancers linked to NDMA. In order to sue, you will have to have a confirmed cancer diagnosis. You can see the list of NDMA-associated cancers here.
- Helpful: High Zantac Exposure
Taking Zantac at a high dose or for a long period of time may make it easier to connect the drug to a cancer diagnosis.
If you believe you or a loved one may have a case, you should speak to a lawyer today. Contact us for a free, confidential evaluation.
What Compensation Is Available for a Zantac Lawsuit?
Compensation from a Zantac lawsuit may be similar to previous faulty drug lawsuits, which have resulted in awards of $3.2 million or more. However, no ranitidine lawsuits have been settled or gone to trial yet. So, the range of compensation has yet to be determined for these specific cases.
Plaintiffs in faulty drug lawsuits tend to claim common legal damages:
- Legal damages may include the cost of additional medical treatments related to a cancer diagnosis.
- Legal damages may include loss of income due to the cancer diagnosis and treatments.
- Legal damages may include physical and emotional pain from cancer.
Some ranitidine lawsuits may seek punitive damages to punish the manufacturer for negligence and wrongdoing.
Is There A Recall on Zantac (ranitidine)?
Yes. Manufacturers have issued a voluntary recall for all zantac and ranitidine products. Zantac and ranitidine heartburn medications are no longer available in the U.S.
The recall was issued in April 2020. Retailers like Walgreens, CVS and Walmart stopped selling the drug in 2019 citing safety concerns.
What is NDMA?
N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) is a hazardous substance recently found in Zantac. Years ago, it was used in the production of rocket fuel. Today, NDMA is only used for research, usually to create cancer in test animals.
NDMA has not been thoroughly tested in humans. But, it is considered to be a carcinogen —a substance capable of causing cancer — in animals. Thus, two regulatory agencies classify NDMA as a probable human carcinogen:
- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
- The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says humans can ingest 96 nanograms of NDMA per day. If NDMA stays below this maximum daily exposure level, it should not significantly affect a person’s health. 96 nanograms is about 600 times smaller than a grain of salt.Free Zantac Case Review
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