You may have heard about the recent Zantac class-action lawsuit against the manufacturers. But that’s not the only type of lawsuit surrounding this drug’s effects. First, let’s get some backstory on how these cases originated.
In April of 2020, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requested the hugely popular antacid medication Zantac (ranitidine) be withdrawn from the market immediately.
The FDA’s reason: Zantac may be contaminated with a known cancer-causing chemical.
Since then, more and more evidence has come to light that Zantac may cause cancer.
Moreover, recent lawsuits allege that the makers of Zantac likely knew about it. That’s why people across the country who have taken Zantac and developed cancer have filed lawsuits to hold these companies accountable and to get the compensation they deserve.
This article will explain what Zantac is and why it may be dangerous. We will also cover the types of mass tort and class-action lawsuits that have been filed, and how VanDerGinst Law can help if you have developed cancer after regularly taking Zantac.
What is Zantac?
Zantac is a medication intended to treat a number of throat, stomach, and intestinal illnesses by decreasing the amount of acid in the stomach. It is also known under its generic name, ranitidine.
Common uses include the treatment of heartburn, stomach pain, ulcers, and acid reflux disease. It comes in both over-the-counter and prescription forms.
Since the early 1980s, Zantac has become one of the most popular medications on the market. It was one of the first-ever drugs to top $1 billion in annual sales. Millions upon millions of doses of the drug are sold every year.
And until recently, you could find it on the shelves of virtually every major retailer like CVS and Walgreens.
Does Zantac Cause Cancer?
In short, there is significant evidence that Zantac may cause cancer.
The problem is that Zantac’s active ingredient, ranitidine, can break down to form a well-known carcinogen called n-nitrosodimethylamine, or NDMA for short. People who have regularly taken Zantac may have been exposed to dangerous levels of a cancer-causing chemical.
Many people who have taken Zantac have experienced cancer of the bladder, kidney, colon, and stomach.
Others have experienced cancers of the brain, thyroid, rectum, esophagus, intestines, liver, lung, ovaries, pancreas, prostate, testicles, uterus, or non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma or multiple myeloma.
Additionally, people who used Zantac during their first trimester of pregnancy have children who have developed cancer. These children might have experienced midline birth defects including, but not limited to, cleft palate and heart murmurs.
The public has only recently become aware of the fact that Zantac use may expose people to the carcinogen NDMA. But current lawsuits allege that manufacturers of the drug knew about this risk and even concealed it from consumers and the FDA.
How Does Zantac Potentially Cause Cancer?
The problem with Zantac appears to lie in its active ingredient ranitidine. Research has shown that under certain conditions ranitidine can break down into the carcinogen NMDA.
Zantac’s link to NDMA was first brought to the attention of the public by an online pharmacy which regularly batch-tests the medications they receive from pharmaceutical manufacturers to help ensure quality and consistency.
The pharmacy’s testing of ranitidine-containing medications such as Zantac revealed “extremely high levels” of NDMA “in every lot tested, across multiple manufacturers and dosage forms.”
The testing determined that at high temperatures, ranitidine “can react with itself . . . at high efficiency to produce NDMA at levels well in excess of permissible daily intake limits for this probable carcinogen.”
A Deeper Look at NDMA
Created through both industrial and natural processes, NDMA is a semi-volatile organic chemical.
Originally, the chemical was used to make rocket fuel.
This use of NDMA was discontinued when it was discovered that areas surrounding a rocket fuel manufacturing plant were contaminated with unusually high levels of this carcinogen.
Though it is no longer used commercially in the United States, NDMA is still created as a byproduct of certain industrial processes used in tanneries, pesticide manufacturing plants, rubber and tire manufacturers, fish processing facilities, foundries, and dye manufacturers.
Issues Known to Be Caused By NDMA Exposure
According to the United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC), NDMA is known to cause both acute liver damage and cancer.
For instance, people who were poisoned with NDMA in food or beverages died of severe liver damage and internal bleeding.
Animals that ate food, drank water, or breathed air containing high levels of NDMA for a few days to several weeks developed serious liver disease.
When rats, mice, hamsters, and other animals ate food, drank water, or breathed air containing lower levels of NDMA for periods longer than several weeks, they developed liver cancer and lung cancer in addition to suffering noncancerous liver damage.
Short-term exposure to high levels of NDMA and long-term exposure to low levels of NDMA in animals also usually resulted in internal bleeding and death.
The Zantac Lawsuit: Class-Action and Mass Tort Claims
Ever since the public learned of the possible link between Zantac and cancer, people across the country have filed scores of lawsuits against the manufacturers of Zantac and other similar ranitidine-based medications.
A Zantac lawsuit falls into two main categories: mass tort claims and class-action claims.
Mass Tort Claims
Zantac mass tort claims are essentially a type of personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.
The suit is usually filed by a person (or his or her family member) who took Zantac or another ranitidine-based medication for a significant amount of time and suffered a serious health problem like cancer.
The aim of this type of case is to make sure that the plaintiff receives individualized compensation for his or her unique injury and to maximize the amount of compensation the plaintiff receives.
The “mass tort” part of a Zantac mass tort claim is legal jargon that means many different people have filed similar lawsuits against the same defendant or defendants. Sometimes if enough plaintiffs have filed such lawsuits, they are consolidated before one federal judge so that certain common aspects of the cases can be dealt with in a more consistent manner.
Consolidating similar cases for this purpose is called “multi-district litigation” or MDL. Even in MDL, however, each plaintiff maintains the right to seek individualized compensation for his or her unique injury.
The Zantac Class Action Lawsuit
The Zantac class action lawsuit on the other hand, is a type of case where a few individuals are chosen to represent the interest of an entire group of people with functionally identical claims.
This type of suit is usually filed on behalf of people who used Zantac or another ranitidine-based medication but who did not develop a serious health problem.
Often, the goal of the Zantac class-action lawsuit is to obtain a refund of the money spent to purchase the medication.
Unlike mass tort and/or MDL cases, if a settlement or verdict is reached in a class action, every member of the represented group is bound by the resolution, unless they specifically notified the court early in the litigation that they wished to opt out of the lawsuit.
One advantage of class-action lawsuits is that they allow many people to join together to pursue claims involving small amounts of money that might not be worth taking to court on an individual basis.
How VanDerGinst Law can help:
If you or a loved one has developed cancer after taking Zantac or another ranitidine-based medication, the experienced and knowledgeable attorneys at VanDerGinst Law can help you obtain the compensation you deserve.
We encourage you to fill out our pre-qualification form to see if you may be eligible to file with us.
Or call VanDerGinst Law at 800-797-5391.
The law is tough, being injured is tougher.
We’ll make it easier for you.