The popular over-the-counter and prescription drug Zantac (also known as ranitidine) has been recalled due to concerns that an ingredient in the medication may cause cancer. Zantac was first sold in the United States in 1983. The drug is known as an H2-receptor antagonist or blocker and has been used by millions of Americans for the treatment of heartburn, indigestion, gastroesophageal reflex (or GERD), and other stomach disorders. Zantac and ranitidine work by reducing the production of acid in a patient’s stomach.
The law firm of Panter, Panter and Sampedro is representing people across the country in personal injury and wrongful death Zantac lawsuits. We intend to hold the drug manufacturers accountable for allegedly concealing the Zantac cancer link and knowingly prioritizing profit.
What is Zantac?
Zantac has been a popular antacid medication since the early 1980s. Chemically known as ranitidine hydrochloride, Zantac belongs to a class of drugs known as histamine H2-receptor antagonists, or H2 blockers, which decrease the amount of acid produced by the stomach. Before the April 1st FDA recall, Zantac was available over the counter and by prescription.
Dosage varies between 75 and 150 mg tablets, though some patients were taking a once daily Zantac 300 mg dosage. Zantac is commonly used to treat acid reflux, heartburn and gastrointestinal issues; however, others were using Zantac to supplement their treatment regimen for allergies.
Numerous studies have demonstrated a link between the NDMA in Zantac and cancer since as early as the 1980s. There is also an overabundance of evidence that allegedly shows Sanofi and Boehringer Ingelheim, the big pharma company that produces Zantac, concealed the cancer link from millions of people who took the drug for a number of issues. This deception occurred as companies accumulated substantial profits from Zantac, making it the first drug ever to generate $1 billion in sales.
Zantac in the News
In 2019, an independent lab discovered excessive levels of a known-carcinogen (NDMA or N-Nitroso dimethylamine) in its testing of batches of ranitidine. The FDA was alerted by the testing lab and some manufacturers issued safety alerts and recalls about the potential cancer risk, while many retailers pulled the drugs from their stores. Initial testing by the FDA in 2019 did not confirm the excessive levels, but subsequent testing has found excessive levels of the cancer-causing ingredient.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on September 13th, 2019 that they would be conducting an investigation into the risks of cancer when taking Zantac after a routine test of Zantac 150 mg tablets found that the heartburn medication contains NDMA at levels up to 3,000 times the FDA recommended daily intake limit. They determined that, “the impurity in some ranitidine products increases over time and when stored at higher than room temperatures and may result in consumer exposure to unacceptable levels of this impurity”.
Prior to the FDA market withdrawal of ranitidine, various manufacturers issued generic Zantac recalls on their own. Many filed citizen petitions with the FDA, urging them to suspend all sales and issue a Zantac recall. Some versions of Zantac were even recalled in Canada and Europe at this time.
In April of 2020, the FDA called for a formal recall of both Zantac and ranitidine due to this cancer concern. NDMA has been linked to colon and rectal cancers, stomach or gastric cancer, and cancers of the digestive tract. Scientists are currently researching whether long-term or chronic use of ranitidine and/or Zantac might increase the risk of colorectal, stomach, liver, bladder, pancreatic, or kidney cancer in patients. Research is also underway to determine how the NDMA occurs, which may be related to heating and other factors during transport and storage of the drugs by manufacturers, retailers, and patients.
Retailers like CVS and Walgreens pulled Zantac and Zantac over-the-counter generics from their shelves in response to the FDA announcement citing the possible link between Zantac NDMA and cancer. Both pharmacy companies made public statements noting that consumers who purchased the drugs were eligible for refunds. Generic drug makers have also recalled their ranitidine hydrochloride products.
In October of 2019, Sanofi announced a Zantac recall of its own in the United States and Canada. At least 22 countries have either banned, halted the shipment of or recalled ranitidine. Four other countries issued warnings and launched their own investigations.
As far back as 2018, several companies issued recalls for blood pressure medications that contained levels of NDMA that exceeded the FDA recommendations. When we compare the levels of NDMA included in Zantac, it far exceeds the levels found in these products.
Side Effects of Zantac
The link between Zantac and cancer goes back for decades. All of the following conditions have been reported following the use of Zantac:
- Bladder cancer
- Brain cancer
- Breast cancer
- Esophageal (nasal/throat) cancer
- Intestinal cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Liver cancer
- Lung cancer (in non-smokers)
- Ovarian cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Stomach cancer
- Testicular cancer
- Thyroid cancer
- Uterine cancer
Additional ranitidine side effects include headaches, abdominal discomfort, nausea and vomiting.
Products That Contain Ranitidine
The following are some of the most common Zantac and generic ranitidine brand names:
- Zantac 150 mg Tablets
- Zantac 150 mg Maximum Strength
- Zantac 150 mg Maximum Strength Cool Mint
- Zantac 75 mg Tablets
- Wal-Zan 150 mg
- Wal-Zan 75 mg
- Heartburn Relief (ranitidine)
- Acid Reducer (ranitidine)
- Acid Control (ranitidine)
Zantac Cancer Lawsuit
Numerous lawsuits from around the country have been filed by injured patients and are being coordinated before a federal judge in West Palm Beach, Florida. It is anticipated that thousands of additional individual lawsuits will be filed in the future in these coordinated proceedings (known as MDL No. 2924- In Re: Zantac [Ranitidine] Products Liability Litigation) on behalf of patients that have been injured or died due to cancers of the bladder, kidney, pancreas, stomach, rectum, or colon following their chronic use of Zantac and/or ranitidine.
If you or a family member took Zantac and were subsequently diagnosed with some form of cancer, you may be eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit against the manufacturers of Zantac/Zantac over the counter. This allows affected individuals to obtain the maximum possible compensation for their injuries.
On the contrary, if you took Zantac but never developed cancer, you could still seek compensation by filling a class action lawsuit against the manufacturers of Zantac. A Zantac class action lawsuit would allow consumers who purchased prescription or generic Zantac to regain the money spent on purchasing the medication.
Allegations that the manufacturer failed to warn about the risk of NDMA cancer will fuel a lawsuit to confirm the makers of Zantac made money by concealing the risks of dangerous side effects. A class action lawsuit can be filed on behalf of anyone who purchased Zantac and wants to hold the makers accountable for profiting from misleading information.
The law on damages varies between states, but there are different types of damages that the law allows individuals to receive, such as those for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, loss of past and future earnings, temporary or permanent disability and any other compensable damages.
Unlike individual lawsuits against Zantac’s manufacturers, in a class action lawsuit, plaintiffs do not have to prove that they were harmed, only that they purchased the drug without warning of the risks. Such plaintiffs can argue that they suffered economic losses because they purchased the drug with the belief that it was safe and would not have made that purchase had they known about the risk of life-threatening adverse effects.
A Personal Injury Attorney Can Help You Calculate Damages
Calculating damages is a rather complex process that takes your pain and suffering into account as well as any relevant laws. Sanofi and S.A., the companies behind the drug, have already hired some of the country’s most reputable defense attorneys. However, a successful lawsuit executed with the help of an experienced attorney, like the ones at Panter, Panter & Sampedro, can help Zantac’s consumers recover the money they spent on the medication and recover for damages associated with its use. This may benefit you and protect consumers in the future from negligent manufacturers.
Please contact the law offices of Panter, Panter & Sampedro, P.A., today for a free consultation regarding the Zantac and ranitidine lawsuits and your legal rights against the manufacturers of these dangerous medications.