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A California man indicates that side effects of Zantac caused bladder cancer after nearly 20 years of exposure to the popular heartburn drug, indicating that the active pharmaceutical ingredient ranitidine transformed into a cancer-causing chemical.
The complaint (PDF) was filed by Joseph John Balistreri in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on November 1, indicating that the drug makers Boehringer Ingelheim, Sanofi U.S. Services, Chattem, Inc., Pfizer, Inc. and GlaxoSmithKline, LLC sold tablets that exposed users to a potent carcinogen since 1983.
The lawsuit comes in the wake of Zantac recalls issued by various drug makers in recent weeks, after it was discovered that pills contained high levels of the chemical N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), which has been linked to reports of bladder cancer, stomach cancer, colorectal cancer, esophageal cancer and other cancers along the digestive tract.
Balistreri indicates that he began taking over-the-counter Zantac in 2000, and continued taking the pills, usually two to three times a week, into this year. He received a bladder cancer diagnosis in November 2018, but it was not until the recent recalls that he discovered that there was a link between Zantac and cancer.
“Had any Defendant warned Plaintiff that Zantac could lead to exposure to NDMA or, in turn, cancer, Plaintiff would not have taken Zantac,” the lawsuit states. “After being diagnosed with cancer, Plaintiff investigated what could have caused his cancer, but to no avail until recently when he heard about the connection of Zantac to NDMA and cancer.”
The link between Zantac and NDMA did not become publicly known until September 2019, when the online pharmacy Valisure released the results of independent testing, which found that each Zantac tablet may contain 29,000 times the daily permissible limit of NDMA set by the FDA.
Valisure filed a Citizen’s Petition calling for all Zantac to be recalled, leading most manufacturers and pharmacies to pull Zantac from the market.
The FDA recently acknowledged that the , indicating that excessive levels of NDMA have been detected. While the agency indicates that the levels were not as high as the Valisure tests, the FDA has stated that the recalls were warranted and urged consumers to switch to different heartburn medications.
Zantac (ranitidine) has been widely used by millions of Americans for treatment of heart burn and acid reflux. As individuals diagnosed with bladder cancer and other injuries contact Zantac lawyers in the coming weeks and months, it is widely expected that thousands of similar product liability lawsuits may be filed by former users of the heartburn medication.