Earlier this year, the FDA requested that the popular antacid medication ranitidine (Zantac) be withdrawn from the market immediately.
The FDA’s reason: ranitidine may be contaminated with a known cancer-causing chemical.
Recent research suggests that there may be a link between ranitidine and cancer.
Furthermore, recent lawsuits allege that some manufacturers of ranitidine likely knew about it.
That’s why people across the country who have used ranitidine for a prolonged period and developed cancer have filed lawsuits to hold these manufacturers accountable and to get the compensation they deserve.
This article will explain what ranitidine is, and why it may be dangerous. We will cover the types of mass tort and class-action lawsuits that have been filed. We will also explain how VanDerGinst Law can help if you have developed cancer after regularly taking ranitidine.
What Is Ranitidine?
Ranitidine is also known under the brand name Zantac. It is a medication that reduces stomach acid levels to treat certain stomach, intestinal, and throat problems.
Ranitidine treats common conditions including heartburn, stomach pain, ulcers, and acid reflux disease. The medication comes in both prescription and over-the-counter forms.
Ranitidine is one of the most popular medications in use today. It was one of the first-ever drugs to top $1 billion in annual sales.
Manufacturers of ranitidine have sold millions of dosages every year. And until recently, you could find it on the shelves of most every major retailer like Walgreens and CVS.
Does Ranitidine Cause Cancer?
Recent evidence has come to light that ranitidine may cause cancer. Ranitidine can break down to form a well-known carcinogen called n-nitrosodimethylamine or “NDMA” for short.
Thus, people who have taken ranitidine for a prolonged period may have been exposed to dangerous levels of a cancer-causing chemical.
They might have experienced cancer of the stomach, kidney, colon, and bladder.
Others have experienced cancers of the brain, thyroid, rectum, esophagus, intestines, liver, lung, ovaries, pancreas, prostate, testicles, uterus, or non-Hodgkins lymphoma or multiple myeloma.
Additionally, people who regularly took ranitidine during their first trimester of pregnancy have experienced midline birth defects. These include, but are not limited to, heart murmurs and cleft palate.
The public only recently learned that ranitidine use may lead to exposure to the carcinogen NDMA. A number of pending lawsuits claim that ranitidine manufacturers were aware of this risk. They may have even hid it from consumers and the FDA.
How Does Ranitidine Potentially Cause Cancer?
Research reveals that in certain circumstances ranitidine can break down into the carcinogen NMDA. This information was first made public by an online pharmacy during quality and consistency testing of the drugs.
Testing showed that there were “extremely high levels” of NDMA “in every lot [of ranitidine] tested, across multiple manufacturers and dosage forms.”
The pharmacy’s research suggested two possible ways that ranitidine could produce NDMA. First, if exposed to high temperatures in the packaging, it “could react with itself . . . at high efficiency to produce NDMA at levels well in excess of permissible daily intake limits for this probable carcinogen.” Second, the drug may be converted into NDMA when it breaks down in the stomach of someone who takes it.
The United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recognizes that NDMA may cause liver damage and cancer.
For example, NDMA poisoning in food or beverages has caused people to die of internal bleeding and severe liver damage. 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 and lung cancer and developed noncancerous liver damage.
Animals who suffered short-term exposure to high levels of NDMA or long-term exposure to low levels of NDMA usually developed internal bleeding and died.
Ranitidine Lawsuits: Class-Action and Mass Tort Claims
Since research revealed that ranitidine may break down into NDMA, scores of lawsuits have been filed against manufacturers.
There are two main types of such lawsuits: mass tort claims and class-action claims.
Ranitidine mass tort claims are similar to a standard personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. The lawsuit is usually filed by a person (or his or her family member) who took ranitidine for a prolonged period and developed a serious health problem like cancer.
This type of case allows the plaintiff to obtain compensation for his or her unique injury. It also allows them to maximize the amount of compensation received.
The “mass tort” aspect of a ranitidine mass tort claim means that many people have filed similar cases against the same manufacturers. To address shared issues in a consistent manner, these cases may be consolidated in a single federal court.
Consolidating cases from different jurisdictions for this purpose is called “multidistrict litigation” or MDL. Even in MDL, each plaintiff maintains the ability to obtain individualized compensation for his or her unique injury.
In contrast, ranitidine class-action claims involve a few plaintiffs who are chosen to represent the interest of an entire group. Such cases are usually brought by people who used ranitidine but did not become seriously ill.
Generally, this type of case allows a refund of money spent on ranitidine. Class actions differ from mass tort cases because every member of the represented group is bound by a single resolution. That is, unless they specifically opt out of the case early on.
Class actions can be useful where many people have claims for 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 ranitidine, 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 for compensation.
Or call VanDerGinst Law at 800-797-5391.
The law is tough, being injured is tougher. We’ll make it easier for you.
The information contained on this website is presented by VanDerGinst Law P.C. It is not intended nor should it be construed as professional legal advice. The information is general in nature about the Firm, the scope of services we offer, and our community outreach, it is not legal advice. Please contact us by phone, email, mail, or via this website for inquiries. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please contact a personal injury attorney for a consultation regarding your situation. This website is not intended to solicit clients outside the State of Iowa and/or the State of Illinois.