The Zantac lawsuits that are in federal court are now part of multi-district litigation against Sanofi and Boehringer Ingelheim. This case is in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. The case has been assigned to Judge Robin Rosenberg. As of the current writing, there are 291 cases that are a part of the multi-district litigation.
We anticipate that this number will rise sharply in the future given the sheer number of people who have taken Zantac over the years. Even if only a small proportion of patients were affected by the alleged defect in the product, this could still mean thousands of lawsuits.
Recall of Ranitidine Products for High Levels of NDMA
By way of introduction, Zantac was pulled from store shelves in September 2019. The popular heartburn medication used to treat heartburn and GERD was found by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to be contaminated with a substance called NDMA.
The problem with Zantac appears to be that the active ingredient ranitidine is unstable and the NDMA occurs naturally as the product is stored on the shelves. The longer the product is stored, the higher the amount of NDMA that can enter the human body.
The Cancer Risk of Zantac
While NDMA is a naturally occurring substance, when people are exposed to it in high enough amounts, it becomes a human carcinogen. Numerous medications, including the popular blood pressure drug Valsartan, have been found to contain NDMA.
These medications have all been pulled off the market. The Zantac recall started when drug store chains such as CVS and Walgreens pulled it from the shelves in a series of voluntary recalls. Then, the drug companies also stopped selling Zantac and generic Zantac. Recently, the FDA announced a full recall, and all brand name ranitidine medications and generic versions are out of circulation because of the presence of NDMA.
Where the Zantac MDL Stands Now
Discovery has now been opened in the case against the antacid drugmakers. This is where each side will get to ask questions of each other in an attempt to learn of evidence that can help their case or their defense. This happens through the form of interrogatories, requests for documents and depositions.
According to the scheduling order set by Judge Rosenberg, discovery is supposed to last for 18 months in the case. The judge has issued several orders that have laid out procedures for discovery or certain defendants. Currently, fact discovery is set to be completed by December 20, 2021.
At the same time, the defendants intend to file a motion to dismiss the case under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. This is common in all large lawsuits such as this one. These motions are rarely granted by the judge.
Nonetheless, the defendants will always try to get a case dismissed on grounds such as the court lacks jurisdiction to hear the case or the plaintiffs have not stated a claim. As of now, the motions to dismiss are due to the court on August 24, 2020. The court gave the defendants additional time to file other motions to dismiss of different grounds in the lawsuit. These motions are not due until October 2020.
This schedule actually seems relatively expeditious for a mass tort lawsuit. Nonetheless, these lawsuits take years from start to finish. If this case goes all the way to trial, it will likely not lead to a result before the middle of the decade. In the meantime, we anticipate that the case is just in its early phases in terms of the number of cases filed.
State Lawsuits for High NDMA Levels
In addition to the cases in federal court, there are also cases that have been filed in state courts throughout the country. There is a large concentration of these cases in California courts. As of this writing, there have been over 40 cases filed in the state. The plaintiffs are seeking to merge their cases in California in a manner similar to multidistrict litigation.
The additional lawsuits that are being filed demonstrate that the alleged dangers of Zantac may be far greater than thought. For example, one California case was filed by a woman who claimed that taking Zantac while pregnant caused her son to develop testicular cancer as an eight-year old child.
The new lawsuits are alleging different types of cancers that the plaintiffs claim was caused by Zantac. Right now, Zantac lawsuits have been filed for stomach cancer, liver cancer, bladder cancer and kidney cancer.
Ranitidine Drugs Lawsuits May Grow Larger
There is still research being performed about the exact effects of Zantac. The FDA recall just occurred within the past year so we are still learning about the dangers of Zantac. In addition, many of the Zantac cases are still being filed.
The Zantac litigation still has the potential to become a multi-billion dollar lawsuit. Based on the FDA’s estimates, one in every 8,000 people who took the maximum dosage of Zantac may develop cancer. Of course, the FDA has a history of understating the dangers of Zantac, and its initial attempt to minimize the damage did not accurately depict the extent of the contamination. Private testing has shown that the contamination is much higher than the public was originally told.
You or Your Family Member May Be Entitled to Financial Compensation for Zantac
Even assuming that the FDA is correct, there may be as many as 2,000 people who developed cancer as a result of Zantac. If you can use $500,000 as a guidepost for a settlement amount, the total settlement in the MDL could exceed $1 billion. It is likely that the settlement would be even more than that if the defendants settle the case.
If you have engaged in long-term use of Zantac, you may have been exposed to unacceptable levels of NDMA contamination. If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with cancer, you may be able to file a Zantac cancer lawsuit. Contact the personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers. Our law firm can give you a free case evaluation.