Manufacturers Seeks Dismissal of Zantac Lawsuits in Delaware State Court

GlaxoSmithKline, Boehringer Ingelheim, Pfizer and other drug makers face more than 70,000 Zantac cancer lawsuits in Delaware state court, after a U.S. District Judge dimissed all claims filed in the federal court system in 2022.

A Delaware judge is currently considering arguments over whether thousands of Zantac lawsuits will be allowed to move forward in state court, following a prior decision that resulted in the dismissal of all claims brought at the federal level.

Zantac (ranitidine) was used by millions of Americans for treatment of heartburn and acid reflux, before it was removed from the market in late 2019, following the discovery that the active pharmaceutical ingredient is inherently unstable and produces high levels of the chemical byproduct N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), which is a potent human carcinogen.

Over the past four years, GlaxoSmithKline, Boehringer Ingelheim, Pfizer, Sanofi and various other manufacturers, distributors and retailers involved in the sale of brand name or generic ranitidine pills have faced Zantac lawsuits brought by former users who indicate they have been diagnosed with bladder cancer, esophageal cancer, liver cancer, pancreatic cancer, stomach cancer or other injuries, as NDMA moved through their body.

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Zantac Lawsuits

Side effects of Zantac may increase the risk of cancer, due to chemical impurities found in the heartburn drug.

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For several years, most of the litigation was focused in the federal court system, where all Zantac cancer lawsuits were centralized before Judge Robin L. Rosenberg in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, for coordinated discovery and pretrial proceedings. However, in 2022 Judge Rosenberg issued a controversial ruling, determining that all of the plaintiffs’ expert witnesses were excluded from testifying at trial under federal evidentiary rules.

While appeals have been filed to challenge Judge Rosenberg’s ruling, the decision has left federal plaintiffs without any means of proving the recalled Zantac pills caused their cancer, and all Zantac lawsuits pending in the federal court system have been dismissed. However, the federal ruling did not have any impact on lawsuits filed in Delaware, California and various other state courts, where different standards for the admissibility of expert witness testimony apply.

Delaware Zantac Lawsuit Dismissal Hearings

Starting on Monday, Delaware Superior Court Judge Vivian Medinilla began hearing arguments from several manufacturers who want more than 70,000 Zantac lawsuits filed at the state level dismissed on similar grounds, indicating the claims are not supported by science.

The hearings are scheduled to last through today, and could determine whether the bulk of Zantac lawsuits filed in that state move forward. Much like the federal cases, if the manufacturers can convince Judge Medinilla to exclude all of the plaintiffs’ expert witnesses, it would effectively kill the litigation again.

The judge is expected to use the same legal standards that were used at the federal level, however, that does not mean she will reach a similar conclusion. In addition, these cases are using a different set of expert witnesses from those presented in the federal lawsuits.

In November, GlaxoSmithKline reached a Zantac settlement agreement that resolved the first lawsuit scheduled to go to trial in California state court, along with three other claims in California that were slated for bellwether trials.

Even though the results of the trials would have had no binding impact on other Zantac cancer lawsuits pending nationwide, the trials were going to be closely watched to see how the jury would have responded to evidence and testimony which could be repeated in tens of thousands of trials nationwide.

2 Comments

  • DannyFebruary 23, 2024 at 12:19 pm

    I feel large corporations that add poison to there products should be criminal

  • DennisJanuary 24, 2024 at 5:00 pm

    My wife had acid reflux problems back in the 80's and 90's, she lived on zantac, it was the most popular antacid then. In 1999 she was diagnosed with breast cancer and had one of her breasts removed. In November 2014 she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and on February 25, 2015 she passed away. The Zantac contributed to both of her cancers and death.

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