Zantac Settlement Reached in California State Court Trial Case, Days After Federal Judge Dismissed Thousands of Similar Claims

Manufacturers still face about 50,000 Zantac cancer lawsuits in state courts, and reached a settlement instead of allowing a jury to hear evidence in a California Zantac trial scheduled to begin in Feb 2023

Sanofi and Pfizer have agreed to settle a Zantac bladder cancer lawsuit that was scheduled to go to trial in California state court early next year, agreeing to the deal days after a U.S. District Judge dismissed thousands of Zantac claims pending in the federal court system, after finding that there was insufficient evidence the recalled heartburn drug can cause cancer.

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 a 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.

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 more than 100,000 Zantac cancer 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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Given common questions of fact and law raised in Zantac litigation, complaints filed throughout the federal court system have centralized as part of an MDL before U.S. District Judge Robin L. Rosenberg in the Southern District of Florida, who has been presiding over coordinated pretrial proceedings over the past two and a half years. However, thousands of claims are also pending in various state courts nationwide, including California, Delaware and other venues.

On December 6, Judge Rosenberg excluded plaintiffs’ expert witnesses from the federal MDL, which left federal plaintiffs without any means of proving the recalled heartburn drug caused their cancer, granting summary judgment to defendants and dismissing the litigation.

As a result of the ruling, all Zantac lawsuits pending in the federal court system will be dismissed, since Plaintiffs are left without expert witness testimony to establish that their cancer diagnosis was caused by the recalled heartburn drug. However, the decision will not have any impact on lawsuits pending in various state courts, where different standards for the admissibility of expert witness testimony apply. In addition, plaintiffs have vowed to appeal the ruling.

California Zantac Settlement

There are an estimated 50,000 Zantac lawsuits filed in state courts nationwide. The first scheduled to go to trial was filed by James Goetz, involving allegations that Zantac caused bladder cancer to develop. That claim was cleared to proceed to trial, and was expected to go before a jury in February 2023.

Rather than defending the safety of the drug at trial, Sanofi and Pfizer announced on Wednesday that a settlement agreement was reached to resolve the case, according to a report by Bloomberg Law. No details on the Zantac settlement were released, and it must still be finalized by a state court judge.

Goetz’s case was to be the first in a series of four Zantac lawsuits scheduled for trial next year, with the remaining cases expected to go before juries on May 1, 2023, August 7, 2023 and October 23, 2023.

These trials will be closely watched by parties involved in the litigation, and may provide a “bellwether” to help gauge how juries will respond to certain evidence and testimony that will be repeated throughout the remaining state court cases.

If plaintiffs can establish that they can succeed with their claims before juries, it will increase pressure on the drug makers to negotiate Zantac settlements, including potential resolutions for claims that are pending on appeal and may later be reinstated and returned back to the trial court if the MDL judge’s controversial decision to exclude plaintiffs’ expert testimony is reversed.


  • NormanFebruary 19, 2023 at 2:00 pm

    I took zantac by doctors advice for several years and then I developed batter cancer 2011. The tumor was removed. I had to stop working because of the results of the surgery. I would love to make the people responsible for this to pay for what they have caused..

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