The United States Food and Drug Administration made a recall request for Zantac and other products containing the ingredient ranitidine.
The recall stems from the fact that these products produce the cancer-causing agent NDMA when stored for extended periods.
Consumers are filing lawsuits seeking compensation from the makers of Zantac after learning the medicine may have led to their cancer diagnosis. Several class-action lawsuits are also forming against the Zantac manufacturer. It is worth noting to potential plaintiffs that the main difference in a lawsuit vs class action lawsuit for Zantac cases is that class action filings benefit every consumer that purchased the medicine. The plaintiff doesn’t need to receive a cancer diagnosis.
1. What Is Zantac?
Zantac is the brand name for the drug ranitidine. The main use of Zantac is to reduce the amount of stomach acid the user produces. Zantac is available through prescription and over-the-counter. The assortment of digestive issues that benefit from Zantac include:
- Stomach ulcers
- Acid indigestion
- Peptic ulcer disease
- Zollinger-Ellison syndrome
2. Problem with Zantac
The FDA advised the public in September of 2019 that NDMA, a known carcinogen, was found in ranitidine. Low levels of NDMA exposure may not pose a threat to consumers. However, the NDMA levels found in Zantac and other products that list ranitidine as an ingredient are more than the amount permitted by FDA guidelines.
Surprisingly, even though the FDA’s own laboratory tests haven’t revealed higher-than-normal levels of NDMA in the samples it analyzed, FDA researchers have found that the NDMA in those samples became increasingly toxic when the drugs were stored at high temperatures.
The risk was even higher if the Zantac user-added nitrates to their diet. Nitrates are a class of food additives usually found in deli meats, hot dogs, ham, and bacon. They can also be ingested by drinking tap water if the groundwater has been contaminated with nitrate-based fertilizers and other chemicals.
In April 2020, the FDA urged all ranitidine drug manufacturers to recall all ranitidine medications from the U.S. market, advising users to stop taking any type of ranitidine-based drugs, to safely discard any leftovers, and to talk to their treating doctors about safer alternatives to Zantac.
3. Basis of the Class Action Lawsuit
Zantac class action lawsuits nationwide accuse ranitidine drug manufacturers of profiting from an untrue perception that drugs containing ranitidine are safe for consumer use. Plaintiffs also claim the manufacturers mislead them regarding many of the possible side-effects of taking Zantac over extended periods of time.
There are American consumers who religiously took the popular heartburn drug for more than two decades every single day. Many of those users developed various forms of cancer, especially liver, stomach, and bladder cancer, and they are now suing the Zantac manufacturer for damages.
Zantac lawyers have so far won hundreds of cases by proving that the drug was “defective” and that the manufacturers have failed to warn users of its many health risks on the drug’s label.
4. Risks Associated with Zantac
NDMA exposure can result in damage to the liver, kidney, and lungs. Other symptoms of NDMA exposure that some Zantac users experienced include headaches, nausea, and abdominal cramps. But the NDMA quality that is responsible for the current recall is its designation as a cancer-causing agent. The cancer types that Zantac takers may become more susceptible to includes:
- Bladder Cancer
- Liver Cancer
- Kidney Cancer
- Pancreatic Cancer
- Ovarian Cancer
- Prostate Cancer
- Thyroid Cancer
- Testicular Cancer
According to the FDA, up to 96 nanograms of NDMA per day are safe for human consumption. Yet, Zantac and other ranitidine drugs contain up to 3 million nanograms of the cancer-causing compound per tablet. In Zantac users, the NDMA levels in their urine were up to 400 times higher than in non-users.
5. Where the Legal Fight Started
Plaintiffs in California are responsible for the first Zantac class-action lawsuit. The lawsuit argues that the drug manufacturer, Sanofi, and other companies who took part in making products containing ranitidine withheld information regarding the cancer risks associated with taking the drug. Similar class actions soon followed in New Jersey and Connecticut. The six total class-action lawsuits have become Zantac Multidistrict Litigation case 2924.
Numerous individual lawsuits are also open against Zantac manufacturers due to alleged deception regarding the threat the medicine posed.
6. Eligibility Requirements
Zantac customers who can demonstrate proof of purchase are eligible to join a Zantac Class Action lawsuit. Plaintiffs joining the class action will not need to show they experienced harm from the medication. To prove that they took the drug, they only need to show that they purchased the medicine without knowing the risk involved.
Users will need to keep all receipts, prescription records, empty pill bottles, and have a treating doctor’s testimony that the patient was diagnosed with cancer after dutifully taking the heartburn drug for many years. Medical records and prescription drug monitoring program records are also valuable resources to prove one’s case.
If the plaintiff took Zantac without a prescription, proving that they took the drug is a bit more challenging unless they kept all receipts and the packaging. In this case, other types of evidence might help, including a flexible spending account, a health reimbursement account, a health saving account, and/or prescription discount cards.
7. How to Join the Fight
Many Zantac class action lawsuits are in the early stages of the process. People affected by Zantac who want to join this fight can do so now since there is a short statute of limitations to file a claim in a Zantac lawsuit.
Financial compensation may become available to reimburse all money spent on Zantac products. There may also be money to provide plaintiffs with reparation for any physical, mental, or emotional distress resulting from the use of the medication.
Zantac users who feel they have a case against the manufacturer can contact a lawyer about becoming part of MDL 2924. Click here to find a Zantac lawyer in your area and learn how much your case may be worth.