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For years, consumers associated taking Zantac with heartburn relief.

Recently, taking Zantac has now become associated with an increased cancer risk after an online pharmacy made public what many knew for years; a probable human carcinogen formed by Zantac leads to an increased risk of cancer.

Some have been diagnosed with esophageal cancer after years of taking this dangerous medication daily.

Our attorneys help injured clients and their families file Zantac cancer lawsuits against the company that made the drug and stores that sold it to you. If you or a family member developed esophageal cancer after taking Zantac all our law office today for a free consultation.


The Long Dominance and Quick Fall of Zantac

Zantac was one of the fastest drugs to $1 billion in annual sales in pharmaceutical history. What is even more impressive was that this happened almost four decades ago, when the dollar was worth far less. The makers of Zantac embarked on a masterful marketing campaign that made people associate the drug with heartburn relief.

After the patent protection expired on Zantac, scores of companies stepped into the market to offer generic ranitidine products. At the time that Zantac was pulled from the market, there were over a dozen brands of ranitidine available, including generic products and store brands.

Even though proton pump inhibitors such as Nexium and Prilosec cut into Zantac's market share, the drug still had a prominent place in medicine cabinets until the time that the news of NDMA contamination emerged. Within months, one of the best-selling drugs of all-time only existed in the risks of cancer that its consumers were exposed to and product liability lawsuits.

How Zantac Treated Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease

The active ingredient in Zantac was a substance called ranitidine. This drug functioned as a histamine blocker. Histamine is a chemical that stimulates parietal cells through their H2 receptors.

Parietal cells are responsible for the production of stomach acid. A histamine blocker is intended to reduce the production of stomach acid.

NDMA Exposure From Taking Zantac

The potential dangers of Zantac and generic Zantac were hardly a secret. There were even concerns about ranitidine products before Zantac was even sold in the United States.

However, the makers of the product did nothing in the face of growing scientific literature detailing the dangers of Zantac. The Food and Drug Administration similarly did nothing to protect the public.

It was not until a small online pharmacy took action that the public learned of the true dangers of Zantac and its generic forms. Valisure, a pharmacy dedicated to protecting the public, ran tests on the Zantac ranitidine family of drugs and found alarming results.

Zantac was found to contain high levels of a cancer causing agent. There is a positive association between ranitidine and cancers of the digestive tract, urinary tract and anything that comes into contact with the harmful substance.

How Ranitidine Becomes Tainted With Zantac

The cancer risk from ranitidine comes from the structure of the substance itself. Studies have shown that ranitidine is a very unstable compound. Over time, the substance can degrade and take on another form. When that reaction happens, NDMA is produced.

When ranitidine is exposed to heat, it accelerates the process of making NDMA. Zantac stored at high temperatures has been found to contain higher levels of NDMA.

Ranitidine has been even shown to make its own NDMA in the digestive tract shortly after it is ingested into the body.

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The FDA Recalls Zantac After Years of Inactivity

The FDA did nothing for years in spite of growing evidence of the dangers of Zantac. Even after the initial news about the NDMA exposure of Zantac patients, the agency went out of its way to reassure the public, claiming that the levels of NDMA in Zantac were similar to those in everyday foods.

As time went on, and more tests were performed, the real dangers of Zantac became clearer. By that point, the FDA had little choice. Even though private companies and drug stores had already largely put an end to Zantac sales, the FDA issued a complete recall of the drug, ending ranitidine's storied history.

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Why NDMA Causes Cancer

NDMA is classified by the World Health Organization as a genotoxic carcinogen. According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, NDMA is a "probable human carcinogen." There have been numerous studies that have linked NDMA to cancerous tumors in various places in the body.

NDMA is a substance that can either be made industrially or naturally produced through certain reactions. It has been used as a lubricant and in jet fuel. NDMA can also be found in food products, such as smoked meats when it occurs naturally. It can even be found due to a reaction in drinking water.

NDMA can be toxic to humans at certain levels. Of course, practically every human is exposed to some level of NDMA on a daily basis. However, there is a daily limit to which people can be exposed and still remain safe.

The problem with Zantac is that studies are now showing that this limit was far exceeded when people took the drug on a daily basis.

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Why Zantac Causes Esophageal Cancer

Zantac is a chewable tablet that people take through the oral cavity. Since Zantac already has high levels of NDMA at the time that it enters the human body, the carcinogen will be in regular contact with the esophagus when the patient digests the drug.

In addition, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) means that acid comes up from the stomach through the esophagus. This means that acid that may be tainted with carcinogen comes into regular contact with the esophagus, raising the esophageal cancer risk for the patient.

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Zantac Can Also Cause Stomach Cancer and Liver Cancer

NDMA is held in the body until it is eliminated through urine and feces. It can continuously remain in the body because the patient is taking ranitidine every day. Thus, there is always a high level of NDMA found in the body at any one particular time.

In addition to esophageal cancer, here are some of the types of cancers that have been associated with ranitidine use:

There have even been reports of lung cancer associated with the use of this heartburn drug. The reports of cancer occurrence have been increasing, since millions of people have taken this drug.

Scientific Evidence Is Showing How Dangerous Zantac Really Was

After the dust had settled on the Zantac recall, Valisure published the results of a scientific study that showed the extent of the dangers that patients taking Zantac faced. The company tested every type of ranitidine product and found NDMA in each of them.

Valisure simulated the conditions of the stomach to quantify the levels of NDMA created by ranitidine. The study found that levels of NDMA steadily increased in the one, two and four-hour intervals after the patient took the drug. The study showed that Zantac began to make NDMA in the body very soon after the patient took the drug.

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Defendants in a Zantac Lawsuit

In any product liability lawsuit, you can sue anyone who was involved in selling the product to you. Typically, plaintiffs will sue the company that manufactured the drug, but you also have the legal right to sue the pharmacy because they are part of the "stream of commerce."

Potential defendants in a Zantac cancer lawsuit include:

  • S-Aventis U.S. LLC,
  • Sanofi US Services Inc.,
  • Chattem Inc.,
  • Boehringer Ingelheim,
  • Pfizer
  • GlaxoSmithKline

In addition, there are numerous makers of generic ranitidine products who are being sued in court cases. Plaintiffs can also sue drug stores such as CVS, Walgreens, Target and Walmart.

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Where Zantac Lawsuits Stand Today

At this time, all the Zantac cases have been consolidated into multidistrict litigation. All of the lawsuits against each of the defendants proceed together until they each have their separate trial.

As of this writing, the judicial panel on multidistrict litigation reports that there are roughly 2,100 cases pending in United States district court in Florida. The presiding judge is the Hon. Robin Rosenberg.

Multi-district litigation can take years from start to finish, but there is now some visibility on when Zantac court cases will begin to head to trial. The first bellwether cases are scheduled to be tried in front of a jury around mid-2023. First, the judge will need to rule on each party's challenges to the other's proposed expert witnesses.

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Damages in a Zantac Cancer Case

If you or a loved one have developed esophageal cancer after taking Zantac, you may be entitled to the following damages in a Zantac lawsuit:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages for time missed from work
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Emotional trauma
  • Wrongful death damages if your loved one died from cancer

In any product liability case where the defendant is alleged to have known of the potential risk of their product and done nothing, there is also a possibility that you may receive punitive damages if you win your case in front of the jury. It is exactly this prospect that causes defendants to get more motivated to settle if they lose the initial court cases.

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Contact Us for a Free Consultation

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with esophageal cancer, we can help you take legal action. The first step is to call the attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers for a free consultation to discuss your case.

We helped many clients with Zantac esophageal cancer lawsuits, and we can work with you. You can reach out to us online or call us today at (888) 424-5757 to set up a time to talk about your case. You owe us nothing unless we are able to help you win your case.

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