Zantac and ranitidine, its generic equivalent, are part of a class of heartburn medications known as histamine-2 blockers, or H2 blockers for short. Like other drugs in this class, Zantac is designed to reduce stomach acid by limiting the activity of cells in the stomach that regulate the production of stomach acid.
In 2020, the Food and Drug Administration recalled Zantac and ranitidine after they were linked to an increased cancer risk because of widespread contamination with a chemical known as NDMA. Because of the link between Zantac, ranitidine, and an increased risk of cancer, many patients who used one of these drugs many have questions about whether they may qualify to file a lawsuit.
➢ Why are lawsuits being filed involving Zantac and ranitidine?
In 2019, tests performed by the online pharmacy Valisure found that Zantac and ranitidine were contaminated with a chemical known as NDMA, which has been linked to an increased risk of developing several types of cancer. The lawsuits against the manufacturers of Zantac and ranitidine have been filed on behalf of patients who used these drugs and were diagnosed with cancer.
➢ When did drugmakers learn Zantac may cause cancer?
The first public scientific evidence linking Zantac and ranitidine to an increased cancer risk was published by Valisure in 2019. One year later, the FDA recalled the two heartburn medications because of their widespread contamination with NDMA and the increased risk of cancer this could cause for patients who used the drugs.
However, evidence uncovered by lawyers who are handling lawsuits filed by Zantac and ranitidine users with cancer has suggested that the manufacturers of these drugs have known for decades about their link to an increased risk of cancer. According to internal documents, researchers at GlaxoSmithKline, the company that developed Zantac, knew as early as 1981 that patients who used the drug could face an increased risk of cancer.
But in spite of these warnings, neither GSK nor other manufacturers of Zantac and ranitidine recalled these medications until information about their link to an increased cancer risk was made public in 2019 and 2020.
➢ What is NDMA, the chemical found in Zantac and ranitidine?
N-Nitrosodimethylamine, or NDMA for short, is a chemical that is sometimes found in food or drinking water. The chemical forms through the natural decay of another chemical called dimethylhydrazine, which is present in rocket fuel, some pesticides, and other industrial processes.
➢ What types of cancer have been linked to NDMA?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), exposure to NDMA can cause an increased risk of gastric cancer, stomach cancer, and colorectal cancer. Other tests have linked NDMA exposure to liver cancer and lung cancer.
There is also evidence to suggest that Zantac and ranitidine users could be at risk of developing other forms of cancer. Some other forms of the disease that have been suggested as being linked to the use of these drugs include cancer of the bladder, brain, breast, esophagus, small or large intestine, kidney, liver, nose, pancreas, prostate, and throat.
➢ What are the side effects of exposure to NDMA?
In addition to the increased cancer risk associated with NDMA, exposure to this chemical has also been linked to a number of short-term side effects. These side effects may include an irregular or fast heartbeat, nervous system disorders, vitamin B-12 deficiency, pneumonia, liver problems, or jaundice.
➢ Have Zantac and ranitidine been recalled?
The FDA ordered that all Zantac and ranitidine products should be recalled in April 2020. This recall included removing Zantac and ranitidine from pharmacy shelves in addition to halting the distribution and sale of these medications by their manufacturers.
➢ How many ranitidine or Zantac lawsuits have been filed so far?
In the time since Vailsure warned about the cancer risks associated with Zantac and ranitidine and since these drugs were recalled by the FDA, hundreds of patients who were diagnosed with cancer have filed lawsuits against the manufacturers of these drugs.
Legal experts have predicted that thousands of ranitidine and Zantac lawsuits could eventually be filed against the companies who manufactured and sold these drugs because of the fact that millions of patients in the U.S. used these products before they were recalled.
➢ Have lawsuits been filed against anyone besides drugmakers?
In addition to the lawsuits filed against the makers of Zantac and ranitidine, some lawsuits have also been filed against pharmacies that sold these medications. Zantac and ranitidine users with cancer have also filed lawsuits against companies that distributed the two drugs.
➢ What kind of settlement could I be entitled to?
Zantac and ranitidine users who developed cancer as a result of taking these drugs may qualify to receive a settlement for the cost of the medical expenses they have incurred so far, as well as for future medical expenses resulting from their cancer diagnosis.
They may also be entitled to receive compensation for lost wages resulting from their cancer diagnosis, and for future lost earnings as a result of their illness.
Some patients may also be entitled to receive compensation for their pain and suffering due to being diagnosed with cancer. In some cases, punitive damages may also be awarded against the makers of Zantac or ranitidine, or other parties involved in the sale and distribution of these drugs.
➢ Do I qualify to file a lawsuit?
If you or a loved one used Zantac or generic ranitidine and have been diagnosed with gastric cancer, stomach cancer, colorectal cancer, or other types of cancer, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit and receive compensation for your illness and medical expenses. The first step in taking legal action is to speak with an attorney to find out whether you may qualify to file a case.
For more information about the lawsuits against the manufacturers of Zantac and ranitidine and to find out whether you are eligible to file a claim, contact the lawyers at Hissey, Mulderig & Friend by calling toll-free at 1-866-806-8117. You can also reach us by filling out our free case evaluation form, which is located on the right side of this page for desktop users and at the bottom of the page for mobile users.
After we receive your submission, a member of our staff will contact you to obtain any additional information that we need and to help you schedule your free legal consultation with one of our attorneys.