Zantac Side Effects Led To Kidney Cancer, Gallbladder Removal: Lawsuit

In a recently filed lawsuit, a D.C. woman indicates she developed kidney cancer and had to have her gallbladder removed due to side effects of Zantac, which exposed her to cancer-causing chemicals during 18 years of taking the popular heartburn drug.

Robin S. McKinney filed the complaint (PDF) in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on March 5, pursuing damages from Boehringer Ingelheim, Sanofi US Services, Inc., Chattem, Inc. Pfizer, Inc. and GlaxoSmithKline, LLC, who manufactured and sold brand-name Zantac at various times without warning about the potential risks.

Zantac (ranitidine) was introduced nearly 30 years ago, and became the first medication to surpass $1 billion in annual sales in 1988, amid aggressive marketing that established it as a safe and effective treatment for acid reflux and heartburn.

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The brand name drug continued to be widely used by millions of Americans, until most versions were pulled from the market last year, when it was discovered that the active ingredient in the pill, ranitidine, produces large amounts of a cancer-causing chemical, known as N-Nitrosodimethylamine, or NDMA.

McKinney indicates she was unaware of the presence of NDMA in Zantac, and took the drug almost daily for 18 years. According to the lawsuit, she was diagnosed with kidney cancer in 2018, and had her gallbladder removed as a result of the Zantac side effects that resulted from her exposure to NDMA.

“Plaintiff regularly ingested Zantac since 2002, ingesting the drug 5-7 times a week on average,” the lawsuit states. “As a direct and proximate result of ingesting Zantac, Plaintiff developed kidney cancer and painful gall bladder stones and complications and underwent surgery in 2018 to have half of her left kidney and gall bladder removed.”

The public was not informed about the high levels of NDMA produced by Zantac until a year later, in September 2019, when the independent pharmacy Valisure conducted testing that found each pill may result in levels of exposure that are substantially higher than the permissible daily intake limit for NDMA set by the FDA.

Valisure indicates some 150 mg pills contained more than 3,000,000 nanograms (ng) of NDMA. The daily limit deemed safe by the FDA is 96 ng.

This cases joins dozens of Zantac lawsuits filed in recent weeks that involve former users who indicate they have been diagnosed with cancer following years of exposure to ranitidine.

Rather than warning about the Zantac cancer risk, which may have resulted in closer monitoring and testing for former users, the lawsuits indicates that the drug makers continued to engage in aggressive marketing campaigns designed to increase sales and further exposure users to a risk of colon cancer, gastric cancer, bladder cancer, pancreatic cancer, esophageal cancer and other injuries.

To deal with the increasing complaints being filed throughout the federal court system, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation ordered all Zantac claims be centralized and consolidated in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, where the litigation will be overseen by U.S. District Judge Robin L. Rosenberg during coordinated discovery and pretrial proceedings.

17 Comments

  • RobertOctober 18, 2022 at 12:04 am

    I had interna l bleeding my gallbladder was enlarged andeteriated the bleeding was sever I basically bleed to death I had major serjery they cut me from my belt line to tits they removed my gallbladder two very large bleeding alsers a tumor as big as my head part of my stomach part of my liver part of my kidneys part of my lungs I spent over a month in the hospital they said it was the[Show More]I had interna l bleeding my gallbladder was enlarged andeteriated the bleeding was sever I basically bleed to death I had major serjery they cut me from my belt line to tits they removed my gallbladder two very large bleeding alsers a tumor as big as my head part of my stomach part of my liver part of my kidneys part of my lungs I spent over a month in the hospital they said it was the worst they had seen

  • GraceMay 2, 2022 at 8:30 pm

    My gallbladder has to be removed how did I not know about this til now I go on the 15 to set up removal I took this pill for years

  • TammyFebruary 27, 2022 at 6:27 pm

    I was on ranidadine for over 20 yrs. 300 mg. I just found out I hv to hv my gallbladder removed becuz it is inlarged and hardened. Cld it be bcuz of that?

  • JackOctober 27, 2021 at 12:34 pm

    My gallbladder was removed and I used to take Zantac .

  • KimberlyJuly 19, 2021 at 5:56 pm

    I had my gallbladder removed July 9th 2021, I had severe constant pain, I had gallstones that were 9cm, I had used zantac and ranitidine for several years, I have had to miss so much work due to the pain and I am missing another two weeks of work because of the surgery, I have lost my car and my home because of missing so much work, I did have to have a hysterectomy due to cancer a couple years ba[Show More]I had my gallbladder removed July 9th 2021, I had severe constant pain, I had gallstones that were 9cm, I had used zantac and ranitidine for several years, I have had to miss so much work due to the pain and I am missing another two weeks of work because of the surgery, I have lost my car and my home because of missing so much work, I did have to have a hysterectomy due to cancer a couple years back, I'm not sure if that wasn't due to the use of zantac or ranitidine.

  • KimberlyJuly 3, 2021 at 5:50 am

    I'm scheduled to have my gallbladder taken out on Friday June 9th 2021, I have so much severe pain and I do quite a bit of suffering, and have to miss work frequently, because of it all, I have 9cm gallstones and a gallbladder that has to be removed, I feel it's all due to the use of ranitidine; zantac, I have taken them for years, up until they were taken of the market, do I have a case? Kimberl[Show More]I'm scheduled to have my gallbladder taken out on Friday June 9th 2021, I have so much severe pain and I do quite a bit of suffering, and have to miss work frequently, because of it all, I have 9cm gallstones and a gallbladder that has to be removed, I feel it's all due to the use of ranitidine; zantac, I have taken them for years, up until they were taken of the market, do I have a case? Kimberly

  • jMay 29, 2021 at 12:12 am

    my gallbladder was ALSO removed after taking this product for many years. Doctor said I would have developed cancer if I did not. Is there any class action lawsuits I can join? Please advise.

  • MichelleMay 18, 2021 at 4:14 am

    I was on zantac for years acid reflux. I had to have gullbladder removed. Michelle Collins

  • JohnApril 24, 2021 at 2:05 am

    I have Barrett’s esophagus disease which is basically pre-cancer, and now I have to get my gallbladder removed. After doing all my research I believe Zantac has caused these problems for me.

  • EdwardApril 11, 2021 at 5:48 am

    I was taking Zantac at least 6 to 7 times a week for acid reflux. I had my gallbladder removed in 2018. I used Zantac for as long as I can remember but didn’t know about any side effects

  • MichaelMarch 27, 2021 at 2:04 pm

    I took Zantac every day for 20 years my dad that has past did also he had emergency surgery just like me gangrene in or gall bladder I had emergency surgery all most died last year

  • LisaJanuary 30, 2021 at 5:36 pm

    I have issues with my gallbladder since 2007. I took the off brand of Zantac for a couple years before that. In 2014 after my daughter was born I had to have my gallbladder removed the stones were so big and my gallbladder was so inflamed that the doctor couldn’t do the micro surgery had to cut me open. Could Zantac be the reason for that issue?

  • EleshaNovember 11, 2020 at 3:49 pm

    I got my gallbladder removed in 2010. Before I had gotten it removed The doctors prescribed Zantac because I was having acid reflux. Everything went downhill from there

  • CharleneOctober 19, 2020 at 8:22 pm

    Hi, I took zantac for years, once a day every day. The generic. It was prescribed by doctor. Then I got a call from pharmacy and the told me I should ask doctor to change me to something else. He immediately changed prescription. I just had mr gallbladder out last month. Sept.

  • JohnJuly 27, 2020 at 3:31 am

    I had severe gall bladder issues to the point I had to have it removed in 2018. I had used Zantac for years before the surgery.

  • GeislaJune 29, 2020 at 5:18 pm

    Yes hello question I have been zantac and the off brand Rand since 2005 and and later on around 2010 my gallbladder was ate up to were I didn't have a gallbladder nomore they was living on my liver I had 16 gallstones I took sick fell out and had two surgeries back to back and it costed me 96,000 dollars at mary washington hospital in virginia can you check into that for me please

  • RobertJune 22, 2020 at 6:28 pm

    I had my gall bladder removed in 2010. I was a frequent user of Zantac for about 10 years and took it about 5 times per week.

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