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A growing number of Zantac lawsuits are being filed nationwide over side effects of the recalled heartburn drug, indicating that the manufacturer poisoned consumers for decades, as the active ingredient produced high levels of cancer-causing chemicals.
In a complaint (PDF) was filed on December 17 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, Jack Rhoda indicates that he developed prostate cancer in 2019, after using Zantac for more than eight years.
The lawsuit names Sanofi, Sanofi-Aventis, Chattem, Inc, and Boehringer Ingelheim as defendants, claiming that the drug makers knew or should have known for decades that Zantac exposed users to N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), a known carcinogen.
“When laboratory researchers want to study tumors in experimental animals, the toxin of choice to induce tumors in experimental animals is often N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA),” the lawsuit notes. “Unfortunately, the manufacturers of Zantac have been poisoning American consumers with extremely high levels of NDMA for over 35 years.”
Zantac (ranitidine) was first approved as a prescription heartburn drug in 1983. Amid aggressive marketing, it become one of the best-selling drug in history by 1988, and was the first medication to surpass $1 billion in annual sales.
There are more than 3 million cases of prostate cancer diagnosed in the U.S. each year and is one of the most common types of cancer each year. It often grows slowly, and is treatable as long as it is contained to the prostate. Once it metastasizes to other parts of the body, the chances of survival are greatly diminished.
The public was not informed about the potential Zantac cancer risks until earlier this year, when an independent pharmacy confirmed that each pill may result in levels of exposure that are substantially higher than the permissible daily intake limit for NDMA set by the FDA, leading to widespread Zantac recalls throughout the U.S.
Over the last few months of 2019, dozens of complaints have been filed by individuals diagnosed with stomach cancer, bladder cancer, colorectal cancer, esophageal cancer and other cancers along the digestive tract, alleging that ranitidine contained in Zantac breaks down into NDMA inside the body. However, as Zantac lawyers continue to review and file claims throughout 2020, it is widely expected that thousands of lawsuits will be brought nationwide.
To deal with a large number of similar complaints being filed in various different federal district courts, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation is scheduled to hear oral arguments later this month over where to centralize the claims, for coordinated discovery and pretrial proceedings.
All parties have agreed that the claims should be consolidated before one judge to avoid duplicative discovery, conflicting pretrial rulings and to serve the convenience of common witnesses and parties, as well as the judicial system.