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On September 13, 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reported the discovery of the carcinogenic contaminant N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) in Zantac (ranitidine), a common heartburn medication available in both prescription and over-the-counter versions.
In April of 2020, the FDA announced that all Zantac brand heartburn drugs, prescription and over-the-counter, should be immediately pulled from the market because of potential NDMA contamination, a chemical linked to cancer.
The first Zantac lawsuit was filed in California on 2019. In that lawsuit, the plaintiffs accuse drugmakers Sanofi and Boerhringer Ingelheim of manufacturing, marketing, and selling a product they knew or should have known had been contaminated with an industrial chemical known to cause cancer.
The exact cause of the NDMA contamination is still under investigation. However, during the period in which Boerhinger Ingelheim and Sanofi manufactured and marketed Zantac, scientific research demonstrated a clear link between ranitidine, the active ingredient in Zantac, and NDMA. Specifically, when ranitidine comes in contact with water, it creates a chemical reaction that causes the formation of NDMA.
Despite the availability of this information, the drugmakers chose not to disclose this risk to the government or to consumers.
How Much Will Zantac Cases Be Worth?
The Zantac litigation will most likely be resolved with a global settlement of all cases. The cases will be ranked into settlement tiers based on the severity of the plaintiff’s injuries and strength of claim. Cases in the top tier could be worth around $500,000. Second tier cases may be in the $250,000 range. The lowest tier cases will likely be worth $100,000 or less.
When Will The Zantac Lawsuits Settle?
A global settlement in the Zantac litigation will probably not happen until at least the end of 2022 or later. Big mass tort cases involving thousands of plaintiffs always take a long time to settle. Right now the litigation is in the begging of the consolidated discovery phase, with hundreds of new plaintiffs being added every week.
Who Will Be in This Zantac Class Action?
Prospective Zantac plaintiffs will include anyone who used Zantac on a regular basis for any extended period of time and was subsequently diagnosed with cancer. The highest individual payouts in these cases will be those diagnosed with specific types of cancer that are closely linked to NDMA and the gastrointestinal system which the drug impacts. These include
The evidence will also be stronger with prescription Zantac because the history of the use of the drug will be strong.
There is a spate of research now on NDMA and the type of cancer this compound can cause. The Sloane Memorial Cancer Center in particular is expected to come out with research that will narrow down the cancers we are at greatest risk for with NDMA exposure.
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