Zantac Lawsuit – settlements & recalls – cancer injuries

Were you or a loved one diagnosed with cancer after taking Zantac or another product containing ranitidine? There are multiple ongoing ranitidine lawsuits around the United States. Joining one of them may enable you to recover monetary compensation for physical, emotional, and financial harm.

A dangerous drug attorney in your area can determine if your case entitles you to join an existing legal action or help you start a lawsuit of your own, if necessary. They can provide all the information you need about your Zantac lawsuit, settlements and recalls, and how cancer injuries may warrant damages.

What is Zantac?

Zantac is a drug used to treat heartburn. It has been in use for decades, but only recently has the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a recall advising that:

  • Drug manufacturers recall Zantac and all products containing ranitidine
  • Ranitidine products may be contaminated with unsafe levels of N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA)
  • NDMA contamination may increase users’ risk of developing certain types of cancer

This press release pertains to both over-the-counter Zantac and the prescription version that you can only get from a doctor. Both types are linked to cancer.

More recently, Sanofi—one of various companies that has manufactured Zantac over the years—has released a new Zantac product, Zantac 360. This product does not contain ranitidine, so users should not have to worry about cancer risks. You do not have the right to file a lawsuit against Sanofi if you have only taken Zantac 360 and not its previous versions of the drug.

Update on the Zantac lawsuits against drug manufacturers

As of October 2021, 800 lawsuits involving 110,000 individual claims are moving forward against a number of drug manufacturers, including:

  • Pfizer
  • Sanofi
  • GlaxoSmithKline
  • Boehringer Ingelheim

According to this Zantac MDL (multidistrict litigation), plaintiffs claim that the above manufacturers have known for years that their products may increase cancer risks but did nothing to protect customers. The plaintiffs, therefore, believe that the manufacturers owe them money to pay for medical care and other expenses related to their cancer diagnoses.

While these cases have not yet gone to trial, the fact that a judge found them credible and denied the manufacturers’ request to end them immediately is a positive step for both claimants and potential claimants. These cases and others like them may go to trial in the coming years unless the manufacturers offer appropriate settlements ahead of time.

Zantac injuries & side effects

Zantac contaminated with NDMA may increase your risk of developing cancer if you take it for a long enough period. Various types of cancer are linked to NDMA, including but not limited to:

  • Bladder cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Stomach cancer
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Colon cancer
  • Prostate cancer

The symptoms you experience will depend on what type of cancer you have and what stage it is in (early stages may present with less severe or no symptoms as opposed to later stages). However, all cancer types can impair your quality of life, force you to seek expensive and exhausting treatments, and even end your life prematurely.

If you experienced any injuries or negative side effects from your usage of Zantac or a similar drug, the drug manufacturer may owe you damages. If you plan on filing a lawsuit, you can write down the symptoms you are experiencing and when they developed and talk about them with your mass tort lawsuit lawyer.

What do we know about NDMA?

NDMA is an impurity that may be found in the drug ranitidine. The amount of NDMA may increase if stored at high temperatures, though some studies indicate that temperature does not matter.

NDMA is, according to the original FDA press release from 2020, a “probable human carcinogen.” In other words, while it is not known for certain whether NDMA exposure causes cancer, there is a significant chance that it might. As a result, the FDA believes the only safe option is to recall products that might contain it.

That said, NDMA has had a link to cancer for years. In 2017, for example, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) expressed concern about NDMA contamination of drinking water.

Zantac recall update

The FDA began warning customers about NDMA in Zantac in 2019, and it issued an official recall request on April 1, 2020. On April 16 of that same year, the FDA issued its most recent update, requesting that drug companies conduct their own tests to determine if their products contain unsafe levels of NDMA.

 Zantac replacement – what are the FDA recommended Zantac alternatives?

If you continue to struggle with heartburn, the FDA recommends several types of heartburn drugs. These include:

  • Mylanta
  • Pepcid AC
  • Nexium
  • Prilosec OTC
  • Rolaids
  • Tagamet HB

If your heartburn is very painful and frequent, and if over-the-counter treatments do not offer relief, it is a good idea to speak to your doctor as soon as possible. They may be able to prescribe something safe and effective. No matter how you feel, it is important that you always take every drug as recommended by the packaging and your physician; improper dosing can lead to complications and dangerous side effects.

What compensation is recoverable in Zantac lawsuits?

Most Zantac lawsuits are still in progress. The earliest bellwether trials—that is, test cases that will demonstrate the viability of Zantac litigation and tell future claimants what settlement amounts and types they can reasonably expect to receive—have not yet gone to court. Therefore, no one knows for certain what compensation is recoverable in Zantac lawsuits.

However, based on compensation sought in the ongoing suits and what is being recovered in other types of dangerous drug cases, you may be able to receive damages based on:

  • Medical expenses: You have already spent money on life-saving or -improving cancer treatments and/or you expect to require treatment in the future. Some plaintiffs have sought compensation for proactive medical monitoring. This way, they can be screened for cancer symptoms they may develop due to the Zantac drug manufacturers’ inaction.
  • Loss of income: Your illness forced you to take time away from work, so you are not earning as much as you did before. This has made it harder to support yourself and your family.
  • Loss of earning capacity: The cancer resulted in a permanent diminishment of your ability to find and keep work in your chosen field.
  • Loss of employment: You lost your job because of the cancer diagnosis.
  • Pain and suffering: Cancer is a debilitating illness with far-ranging physical and emotional consequences. This is especially true if you were not diagnosed right away and the cancer has already spread.
  • Reduced quality of life: Your injury prevents you from enjoying life and performing everyday tasks (e.g., cleaning or bathing yourself) the way you once did. In some cases, you may have needed to hire someone to help you or have a relative move in to take care of you.
  • Disability: Some cases may result in permanent disability—for example, if the cancerous organ needed to be removed or you developed another condition due to the cancer or related treatment.

In addition, if your loved one already passed away from Zantac-related cancer, you have a right to seek compensation on their behalf. This compensation may include the categories listed above (if your loved one did not already recover these damages on their own before their passing), as well as:

  • Loss of financial support: You relied on the deceased’s income to support your family or maintain your standard of living. Without it, you must find a new source of revenue or drastically alter your lifestyle.
  • Funeral expenses: This includes any expenses related to laying your loved one to rest, including the cost of a coffin, cremation, burial, and funeral services.
  • Other end-of-life expenses: For example, you may have needed legal representation to settle your loved one’s estate, especially if they died without a will or if there is some question about the will’s legality.
  • Loss of society or companionship: The deceased was an invaluable part of your life. They provided you with comfort, love, affection, and emotional support that you could not get from anyone else.

Be aware of your state’s statute of limitations

It is also important to note that these damages are only recoverable if you act within your state’s statute of limitations. A statute of limitations is any law that restricts how much time a claimant has to file a lawsuit. The amount of time you have varies by state, but it is usually between one and five years. The countdown may start from:

  • The day you developed cancer symptoms
  • The day you were officially diagnosed with cancer
  • The day your loved one passed away from cancer

By connecting with a law firm as soon as possible, you can preserve your right to recover compensation. You may even make it easier to build your case, as many types of evidence are more easily available or more valuable if they are collected sooner rather than later.

FDA studies and recalls regarding Zantac

The FDA has issued warnings and recalls pertaining to Zantac since 2019. Given the length of time some studies take, it is not surprising that many unanswered questions remain about Zantac, ranitidine, and NDMA, and their connection with cancer. The FDA and other organizations continue to study NDMA to determine:

  • What level of NDMA contamination is unsafe
  • Whether or not NDMA is a true human carcinogen
  • What types of cancers may result from NDMA exposure
  • By how much NDMA increases cancer risk
  • How improper storage does or does not impact cancer risk 

One recent study, published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine in January 2021 found no link between NDMA and cancer. However, a study conducted by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) and released in March 2021 linked prenatal NDMA exposure to childhood cancers, “particularly leukemia or lymphoma.”

Academic studies about NDMA are still ongoing. While the results remain inconclusive, it is better to exercise caution and avoid products that may contain NDMA—especially if you are pregnant—until you discuss the situation with your doctor.

How liability law applies to the Zantac cases

In legal cases, the term “liability” refers to who is at fault for the injury that is the subject of the lawsuit. In Zantac cases, the injury is your cancer diagnosis, and your lawsuit seeks to prove that the drug manufacturer holds complete liability for causing your cancer.

The drug manufacturer, however, may try to shift the blame onto another party, including you. For example, they may claim that:

  • You took the drug improperly (e.g., you took it for longer than intended)
  • You took another drug or engaged in another activity (e.g., smoking) that caused the cancer
  • A reasonable person in your position should have known about the cancer risk, but you took the drug anyway
  • The drug manufacturer did not know about the cancer risk ahead of time, nor could any reasonable entity in their position know about this risk

If the drug manufacturer succeeds in persuading a judge and jury that they are not liable and/or that you contributed to your own injury, your settlement amount may be reduced or eliminated.

Legal help can make a difference in your case

It is a good idea to hire a lawyer with experience in dangerous drug cases and mass torts. They can conduct a thorough review of your case, anticipate how the drug manufacturer may try to undermine your case, and collect evidence to prove their guilt and your innocence.

For example, to ensure that your case does not run afoul of liability law, a Zantac attorney can locate and request evidence from:

  • Medical professionals: A lawyer will probably request your medical records to prove that you were diagnosed with cancer and that you subsequently received treatment. They can also ask a medical expert to testify that Zantac is most likely the cause of your cancer.
  • Company records and statements: In the lead-up to the trial or settlement, your lawyer can engage in discovery with the drug manufacturer. This means they will ask to see relevant documents from company files, and the company can request documents from you. They may also use the manufacturer’s public statements and actions against them.
  • Eyewitnesses: It is important to establish that the drug and no other factor is responsible for your cancer. Friends, family members, and other people who know you can confirm your health status before and after you took Zantac.

Contact an attorney

The Sentinel Group is in contact with Zantac lawsuit lawyers from around the country. We can put you in touch with the right law firm to handle your case and fight for the compensation your cancer injuries entitle you to recover. 

Fill out our contact form today for help with your case or to learn more about how you can hold the manufacturer responsible.