Zantac went from one of the most popular pharmaceutical products of all time to leaving the market in a matter of a year. Once, millions of people associated heartburn relief with taking a Zantac. Now, the drug may end up involved with one of the larger mass tort cases ever. Zantac was one of the first billion-dollar drugs. Now, it only exists in the thousands of lawsuits brought by consumers who suffered an injury because of using it.
If you have cancer after taking Zantac or one of its generic versions, call Nadrich & Cohen Accident Injury Lawyers. We’ve won millions of dollars for people injured by dangerous drugs so they could pay for their medical treatments and improve their quality of life. Call us today to see if we can help you.
Cancers Tied to Zantac Use
Extensive testing of Zantac and generic versions of the drug have found it to contain a dangerous cancer-causing contaminant.
In particular, studies have linked Zantac with these cancers:
Now, you can no longer buy Zantac anywhere. It has been subject to a mass recall. In the meantime, if you or a loved one took Zantac, you may be entitled to financial compensation if you have been diagnosed with cancer.
An Online Pharmacy’s Test Marked the End for Zantac
Problems with Zantac seemingly emerged out of nowhere in September 2019. For context, researchers previously discovered several other drugs contained NDMA. One of these drugs was the popular blood pressure medication valsartan. The manufacturing process tainted this drug at some point, and regulatory agencies completely removed it from the market.
After this, private parties began to test for NDMA in medication. An online pharmaceutical testing company called Valisure took the lead. This independent company ordered samples of many different drugs on the internet and began their own tests. Their analysis found NDMA in Zantac.
NDMA is a substance that is often shrouded in mystery. First, from an appearance perspective, it is a volatile yellow oil. In some cases, NDMA can occur naturally. For example, you can find it in smoked meats. However, people should not go around consuming NDMA in unlimited quantities. There is a maximum allowable daily intake of this substance before it becomes dangerous.
Common Uses of NDMA
The problem is that people do not generally know which foods and products contain NDMA. Not only that, but NDMA has other uses that make it appear far more dangerous than the seemingly harmless substance in your food and drinking water.
In the past, people used NDMA in the production of:
- Rocket fuel
- Additives for lubricants
- Softeners for copolymers
From this list, you can imagine why you want no NDMA in your body.
There is evidence that NDMA causes cancer in laboratory animals. It is also considered a “probable” human carcinogen based on laboratory testing. The greater the degree of exposure, the higher the chance that you can develop cancer.
Initially, the FDA (as it usually does) downplayed the problem when researchers found that Zantac contained NDMA. The agency stressed that the amount of NDMA was minimal, and patients will need to consume far more than that to be in danger of developing cancer.
Initial Optimistic Reports About the Contamination Were Wrong
However, as they tested more batches, this initial conclusion appeared hasty and downright wrong. They found Zantac and related drugs contained far higher than the recommended daily limit of NDMA intake.
With Zantac, the NDMA content depends on the individual batch and the conditions in which people stored it. The hotter the temperature, the greater the chance that the batch contains a dangerously high level of NDMA.
Even though the FDA was very slow to react to the news of Zantac’s contamination, the private sector understood the ramifications of this news. Stores certainly understood that people can hold them legally responsible for selling a defective drug, and they quickly moved to pull this product off store shelves.
Immediately, the following retailers announced that they were no longer selling Zantac:
- Rite Aid
Even the makers of generic versions of Zantac quickly moved to recall their products, sensing their potential liability. It was not until about six months later that the FDA finally took action and urged a nationwide recall. By this time, the agency’s work was largely already done for it.
Zantac Contaminates Itself Over Time
Researchers are learning that the problem with Zantac is the drug itself. Whereas other drugs were tainted with NDMA due to the manufacturing process, Zantac’s contamination happened all on its own.
The key ingredient in Zantac is a compound called ranitidine. This substance is supposed to act as a blocker, reducing the amount of acid made in the stomach. While its effectiveness is not in question, ranitidine’s safety certainly is.
This substance is unstable. In a way, Zantac itself is a ticking time bomb. Over time, even though Zantac may not have left the factory contaminated with NDMA, it can change on its own, especially when someone stores it at high temperatures. A product that was completely safe when the manufacturer shipped it out now contains a deadly carcinogen.
Another theory is that the NDMA can form in the patient’s own body after the heat of ingestion. In a sense, Zantac is its own factory for producing harmful contaminants.
Ranitidine has a design defect. The manufacturer chose to use an ingredient that can morph into a form that caused danger. The manufacturer clearly should have known this by testing their product. Because using ranitidine makes Zantac unreasonably dangerous, injured consumers can sue for a design defect.
NDMA Contaminates Many Drugs
Valisure did not just pull an idea out of a hat when it tested Zantac. For years, literature and research had supported the idea that Zantac was tainted. There was one 2003 study that showed that the presence of ranitidine near water treatment plants led to high NDMA content in the drinking water. Other studies during that time showed the instability of ranitidine.
However, the makers of these products did not investigate further, even though they were under a legal obligation to warn the public of the dangers of the product that they sold. Since they did not warn the general public, you can also allege a marketing defect in your product liability lawsuit.
Manufacturers cannot simply pretend that potential problems with their products do not exist. If they learn of information that can show danger, they must at least investigate and then warn the public based on their findings. However, Zantac manufacturers were making far too much money to do anything to harm sales.
Defendants in Zantac Cases
If Zantac has injured you or a loved one, you have the legal right to sue anyone involved in the manufacture or sale of the product. Defendants include the product makers and the drug store chains that stocked these products on their shelves for decades.
Some of the defendants in these lawsuits include:
- Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals
How to Win Your Zantac Lawsuit
To recover financial compensation, you must prove:
- The product was defective either through a design, manufacturing, or marketing defect. Then, the defendant will be strictly liable unless one of a limited number of exceptions applies.
- The manufacturer was negligent in designing, manufacturing, or selling the product.
- The product breached the warranties that applied when you bought it.
The number of Zantac lawsuits is growing as we speak. While there are just below 2,000 lawsuits as of this writing, this can grow up to 80,000-100,000. Remember that tens of millions of people have taken Zantac. Even a small increase in the probability of cancer can result in tens of thousands of cases.
Right now, the defendants in the case are fighting hard to avoid liability. They know that losing these cases can result in liability that can reach beyond $10 billion. The initial trials are due at the end of 2022, and these will be pivotal.
What You Should Do
If you have been a regular user of Zantac and have been diagnosed with cancer, time is of the essence. There are strict deadlines for filing your case (in California, it is two years from when you were injured or should have known that a specific product injured you), and you do not want to miss out on possible financial compensation.
The key is to hire an experienced product liability attorney as soon as possible, so you can begin the legal process. Product liability cases require extensive scientific and expert testimony. One challenge that you may have in your case is proving that Zantac caused your cancer. You have the burden of proof to show causation. Your lawyer can help you make the case by working with medical experts.
Your lawyer will help you file your own Zantac lawsuit. Right now, multidistrict litigation is taking place in federal court in the Southern District of Florida. The assigned judge is the Hon. Robin Rosenberg.
Damages in a Zantac Case
If you suffered an injury due to Zantac use, you have the legal right to:
- Lost wages for the time that you cannot work because of your illness
- Medical bills relating to the treatment of your cancer
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
If your family member has died from their cancer, you may have the legal right to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
The damages, in this case, can include:
- The wages that the deceased person would have earned during their career
- The family’s grief and emotional trauma from losing a loved one
- The loss of the deceased person’s guidance, love, and support
- Loss of consortium for the spouse
As you can imagine, these damages can be considerable. Cases in which products have caused cancer have led to settlements well into the six figures. Some of these settlements have even topped seven figures.
If your case goes to a jury, you may receive an even larger damages award, especially if the jury decides to award punitive damages. While these are rare, juries may try to punish the defendant in cases where they knew about the potential risks, and either did nothing or tried to cover them up.
Product liability cases are almost always hard-fought. Companies realize that their actions can cause them significant headaches and liability, and they do not want to pay for the damages that their products cause. You need to take them on with an aggressive lawyer who is not afraid to go toe-to-toe with high-powered lawyers looking after corporate interests.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do I Prove that Zantac Caused My Cancer?
This is one of the challenges in Zantac cases. Usually, you will have medical experts analyze the patient’s records and testify about what may have caused cancer, and Zantac might very well be one of those causes.
Nadrich & Cohen Accident Injury Lawyers
Modesto, CA 95354
When Should I Contact a Zantac Lawyer?
You have a limited amount of time to file a lawsuit, which means that you should get legal help as soon as you suspect that Zantac caused your cancer.
How Long Will My Zantac Lawsuit Take?
Product liability cases can take a long time to resolve, but having an experienced Zantac attorney handling your claim can help the process to move along as smoothly as possible.
Call a Modesto Zantac Lawyer
The law firm of Nadrich & Cohen Accident Injury Lawyers has a track record of fighting for justice for our clients injured by dangerous medications, and we are not afraid to take on the biggest names. Call us today at (209) 255-6761 or contact us online for your free initial consultation. You owe us nothing unless you win your case.