Zantac Lawsuit Update – October 2021
It’s been two years since Valisure, LLC, an independent pharmacy, filed a Citizen Petition with the FDA after their lab detected extremely high levels of N-Nitrosodimethylamine (‘NDMA’), a probable human carcinogen, in every lot tested, across multiple manufacturers and dosage forms of the drug ranitidine, commonly sold under the brand Zantac. The FDA has determined people should consume no more than 96 nanograms of NDMA per day. Valisure detected NDMA in excess of 3,000,000 nanograms per tablet when analyzing ranitidine products. (Source: Valisure)
In February 2020, lawsuits filed against manufacturers of the heartburn drugs Zantac and generic ranitidine from all over the country were consolidated in a federal multi-district litigation (MDL) in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida (MDL 2924). MDL’s are created to streamline the process and share resources when there are a large number of similar lawsuits filed in different jurisdictions.
There were also thousands of cases put into a census registry, which allowed for claimant’s statutes of limitations to be protected without the need to file their case with the court while logistics of the cases were worked out among leadership prior to moving forward. The census is also used by the court to help create a broad picture of the scope of alleged usage and injuries among the potential claimant pool of unfiled cases, which will eventually form the basis for grouping these individual cases into tiers for purposes of settlement.
What brought on Zantac litigation?
Zantac (ranitidine) decreases the amount of acid produced in the stomach, and is used to treat and prevent heartburn (gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD). Zantac was very popular, and became one of the best-selling drugs in pharmaceutical history – being the first medication to reach $1 billion in annual U.S. sales.
After Valisure’s findings, the FDA issued a public safety warning, about possible cancer risks from Zantac. In the wake of those warnings, there were ultimately (voluntary) recalls on Zantac; and ranitidine was abruptly pulled from shelves across the country.
Where are we now?
The MDL judge dismissed all of the Zantac lawsuits involving generic or store brand versions of Zantac in August 2021. This was not good news. Judge Rosenberg believes they are preempted by federal law. This is a brutal blow for users of generic ranitidine who are now being told that even if the drug caused their cancer, they may not have a claim, which would be a tragedy. However, we are not giving up hope. There is a silver lining. Plaintiffs’ attorneys have filed appeals, but the general feeling is the ruling will hold up on appeal. However, this will likely streamline the Zantac litigation considerably since it minimized the caseload considerably for the court, but also allows Plaintiffs’ Leadership counsel more time to drill down on the remaining defendants and better prepare the scientific side of things to get these cases to a jury.
Also, while those cases that were actually filed into the MDL may have been dismissed, those in the claimant registry are still protected by the tolling agreement, and for now can remain protected until we see how everything plays out with the appeals. There may also be other venues to pursue litigation in for generic only (and mixed use) claimants to seek justice and recover damages and compensation for their injuries.
Pre-trial discovery is ongoing. Unfortunately, we cannot predict potential per person payouts. It would all be speculation at this point because it’s just too early in the process. With so many moving parts, the Zantac MDL is basically a logistical nightmare. Between COVID delays (both those in the past, and what could still be to come), a convoluted defendant pool rife with multiple distributors, brand & generic manufacturers – made more difficult with discovery disputes; it will be a miracle if MDL bellwether trials even begin by this time next year.
One of the biggest disputes between plaintiffs and defense counsel is whether NDMA was a substantial contributing cause to the victim’s cancer. The science is already there to support the fact that NDMA is more likely to cause some cancers than others. The question will be whether the judge believes the science is clear enough to allow the lawsuits to proceed to a jury on a specific type of cancer. One of the most important things to pay attention too will be the Daubert hearing, which should take place mid to late summer 2022. The Daubert motion on general causation will be the key in determining the settlement amounts for this MDL (as well as the California JCCP litigation).
Do You Qualify For A Zantac Lawsuit?
Currently, VanDerGinst Law is only accepting new clients for this specific litigation who took brand name Zantac on a daily or regular basis for at least 6 months, and were diagnosed with one of the following cancers:
There are also some qualifying injuries related to Zantac use while pregnant. If you took brand name Zantac during your FIRST TRIMESTER of Pregnancy and experienced a still-birth, or had a child born with mid-line birth defects, you may also be eligible.
You may be entitled to recover damages if you meet the above requirements, and we recommend working with an law firm who has navigated the complex legal process of mass torts. The experienced and knowledgeable personal injury attorneys at VanDerGinst Law can help you make sense of your case and we work tirelessly to hold big pharma accountable. If you feel you’ve been injured due to Zantac use:
Contact us at 800-960-8529 or fill out the contact for below.