Our lawyers are investigating Zantac lawsuits in all 50 states.
The evidence is clear to our attorneys that Zantac is causing many types of cancer. This page is about these suits and my prediction on the future of this litigation and what settlement amounts might look like for victims. I am providing regular Zantac lawsuit updates in this space. The last update was on December 3, 2021.
How Zantac Lawsuit Will Proceed
Zantac lawsuits are now consolidated in a class-action federal court in Florida. So if you file a Zantac claim in federal court, your lawsuit will wind up in Florida.
If the judge sticks to this proposed schedule and the bellwether trials get underway without delays, we could potentially be talking about Zantac settlement negotiations in 2023. That is a long time for victims. I know. But we do not have a path to a global Zantac class action settlement is further along than we were a few months ago.
December 2, 2021 Update: The MDL judge finalized the process for selecting the initial Zantac bellwether cases. The plan is to create an “Initial Discovery Pool” of 200 cases which will be randomly drawn from Zantac cases involving Florida plaintiffs. There are 8 types of cancer allegedly linked to Zantac and the pool of 200 will include 25 cases for each cancer type. Once the initial 200 are selected, these cases will go through a short fact discovery and vetting process to eliminate those cases that do not meet certain eligibility criteria. The vetting process will be completed by August 1, 2022, at which point the parties will select cases from the remaining pool for initial bellwether trials.
November 11, 2021 Update: after reaching an agreement on the process for selecting bellwether cases, both sides are now in the process of identifying the 2 cancer types that have the strongest link to NDMA in Zantac. Breast, colon, and prostate cancer account for the highest total of Zantac plaintiffs, but the selection of the top two cancer types may be based more on the strength of the scientific evidence linking them to Zantac.
October 26, 2021: the MDL judge met with lawyers for both sides to finalize the process for selecting cases for bellwether trials, which are set to begin at the start of 2023. Cases will be selected from Florida based on the type of cancer involved. 5 Florida cases for each cancer type will be randomly selected. The parties will then agree on which 2 cancer types have the most impactful connection to Zantac and the first round of bellwether trials will be picked from this group. 2 different cancer types will be selected for the next round of bellwether trials.
September 22, 2021: Most Zantac lawsuits are in the MDL. But several hundred Zantac lawsuits are simultaneously moving forward in the California state courts and they have been consolidated into a JCCP (California’s version of an MDL). The good news there is the California lawsuits and proceeding ahead of the MDL class action. The judge in the Zantac JCCP recently announced that the first Zantac test trial in this consolidated state court litigation will begin in October 2022.]
Settlement Compensation in Zantac Lawsuits
There is a widespread belief among mass tort attorneys that these MDL class action claims could be worth billions of dollars. My guess? Between $5 billion and $10 billion.
For victims, that number means nothing. You want to know how much compensation you can expect for your Zantact lawsuit.
I discuss Zantac settlement payouts more below where I put this prediction in context.
September 2021 MDL Class Action Update
In June 2021, the Judge in the Zantac MDL issued a scheduling order which set forth a number of key dates and deadlines. The aim of this schedule is to get the first round of bellwether trials started at the beginning of 2023. The key deadlines in the Zantac MDL scheduling order are as follows:
|10-1-21||Parties must submit a detailed plan for how bellwether cases will be selected for test trials.
|11-1-21||Defendants’ initial expert witness disclosures must be submitted, identifying areas of expertise for all causation experts.
|12-20-21||Deadline for completion of all “factual discovery” from defendants.
|12-20-21||Plaintiffs’ expert witness reports are due.
|1-31-22||Defendants’ expert witness reports are due.
|2-21-22||Plaintiffs’ deadline for rebuttal reports on causation.
|4-25-22||Deadline for completing depositions of all experts on general causation.
|5-9-22||Parties must file Daubert motions to exclude or challenge expert testimony on causation.
|6-27-22||Oppositions to Daubert motions.
|7-18-22||Replies in support of Daubert motions
If the Judge sticks to this proposed schedule, and the bellwether trials get underway without delays, we could potentially be talking about Zantac settlement negotiations towards the end of 2023.
- Video that explains how the Zantac cancer claims work
Recent Example Zantac Lawsuit
A New York man, Bennett Cohen, became one of the most recent plaintiffs to join the Zantac litigation. Cohen filed a Zantac cancer lawsuit on November 19, 2021, against a group of 9 brand-name manufacturers and 4 generic manufacturers. Cohen opted to file his case directly in the Zantac MDL in the Southern District of Florida rather than file in New York and have the case transferred into the MDL.
Cohen alleges a significant and lengthy history of Zantac and generic ranitidine usage. According to the Complaint, Cohen used both prescription and over-the-counter strength Zantac and ranitidine. Cohen claims that he used the drug on a regular basis to treat heartburn over a 17-year period from 1995 to 2012.
Cohen’s Zantac lawsuit alleges that as a result of his regular use of Zantac over this 17-year period, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2011. He asserts 11 separate causes of action against the defendants. But his primary theory – and the core theory of the Zantac MDL class action – is failure to warn.
Zantac is the popular brand name of a drug called Ranitidine, which is widely used to treat various gastrointestinal conditions such as heartburn and acid reflux. Zantac has been around for a long time. Zantac was first sold in the U.S. back in 1983 and it quickly became one of the most widely used drugs on the market. Just 3 years after its initial release, Zantac became the first drug in the U.S. to generate $1 billion in sales.
Today Zantac is available in both prescription and over-the-counter form, and it remains one of the most popular drugs on the market. In 2018, sales of over-the-counter Zantac alone totaled $129 million.
Ranitidine (the active ingredient in Zantac) belongs to a family of drugs known as histamine-2 or H2 blockers. The over-the-counter dosage of Ranitidine is widely used to treat and prevent chronic heartburn and acid reflux. Prescription-strength Ranitidine is used to treat stomach ulcers and other more serious conditions. Generic versions of Ranitidine are sold by various companies, but Zantac continues to be the most popular brand.
Zantac Found to Contain NDMA
N-Nitrosodimethylamine (“NDMA”) is a chemical byproduct of certain industrial processes NDMA has long been recognized as a potential human carcinogen. NDMA is highly toxic to the human body, especially the liver, and has been conclusively linked to various forms of cancer since the 1970s.
In 2018 Chinese pharmaceutical manufacturers unexpectedly discovered that enormous quantities of generic Valsartan (a very popular blood pressure drug) were contaminated with high NDMA levels.
The presence of NDMA was believed to be an inadvertent byproduct of a change in the manufacturing process.
The discovery of NDMA in Valsartan promoted a massive safety recall and led to concerns about NDMA contamination in other pharmaceuticals.
Valisure is a pharmaceutical testing laboratory that periodically analyzes drugs for purity and quality. After the Valsartan contamination, Valisure started testing several heartburn drugs to check for NDMA.
The results of the Valisure testing on heartburn drugs dropped a bombshell on the pharmaceutical community. Valisure found that Zantac and other generic versions of Ranitidine contained dangerously high levels of NDMA.
In fact, the Valisure testing found that a single tablet of Zantac contained 26,000 times the acceptable daily limit of NDMA (the limit is 96 nanograms, according to the FDA). Valisure reported these findings to the FDA in June 2019.[Post intermission: Does anyone other than me think it is insane that Valisure was the one to figure this out? Not Sanofi. Not the FDA. But a random pharmacy. It is unbelievable.]
In September 2019, the FDA issued a public safety warning stating that Zantac and generic Ranitidine contained “unacceptable” levels of NDMA.
In response, the three largest retail pharmacy stores in the U.S. (Rite Aid, CVS, and Walgreens) have pulled Zantac and its generic alternatives from their shelves. Many manufacturers of generic Zantac have already recalled their products. To date, however, Sanofi has not issued a safety recall of Zantac.
On October 18, 2019, in what the FDA annoying calls a “precautionary measure”, Sanofi issued a recall Zantac OTC in the U.S. (over-the-counter) in the United States (Zantac 150, Zantac 150 Cool Mint, and Zantac 75). We know NDMA causes cancer and we know NDMA is in Zantac.
You can bet as the litigation proceeds, the Zantac defendants will hide behind the FDA’s skirt once again. I think this “precautionary measure” language is one more example of the FDA throwing industry a bone to help protect them from legal liability. You really don’t take precautionary measures when the house is on fire.
When did we first know the house was on fire? That is what we have to figure out in these lawsuits. We know that in 2016, Stanford researchers tested urine samples of ten people who took Zantac. They found NDMA levels much higher than the limits set by the FDA. What did Sanofi do when they heard that information? What did they already know? Discovery in the antacid cancer lawsuits will tell us a great deal more about who knew what and when.
- Frequently asked questions about Zantac lawsuits
What Are the Potential Injuries from Zantac?
Zantac users may have been exposed to unsafe levels of NDMA over prolonged periods of time. According to the FDA, the safe daily intake limit for NDMA is 96 ng. The Valisure testing found NDMA levels in a single 150 mg tablet to be as high as 2,511,469 ng – which is 26,000 times greater than the safe daily limit. The FDA’s own testing found lower levels of NDMA in Zantac, but even these levels were 3,000 times the daily acceptable limit.
The Valisure testing was done right. They used the FDA’s gold standard gas chromatography/mass spectrometry protocol. You don’t a whole lot of objection that this study was flawed in any. So, as they should, Valisure sounded the alarm.
The alarm was needed. There is no debate within the scientific and medical community that NDMA is a substance that causes cancer in humans and animals. The link between NDMA and various types of cancer was first discovered back in the 1970s. Prolonged exposure to NDMA has been shown to cause several cancers including liver, gastric, kidney, and colorectal cancer.
NDMA not only causes cancer but at very high levels it can actually function as a poison. There are several reported cases in which acute, high-dose ingestion of NDMA has caused liver damage, internal bleeding, and death. Animal testing found that ingestion of moderate to high levels of NDMA in water or food can damage the liver after just a few weeks.
So what exactly are the plaintiffs’ contending in this case? Is everyone who took Zantac going to get cancer? Of course not. The reasons people get cancer are complex and not fully understood. But plaintiffs’ argument in these cases is more like this:
So for some people, exposure to these NDMAs pushes them off the cliff from not having cancer to having cancer.
What Are the Zantac Lawsuits About?
Zantac is a drug used by hundreds of millions of people worldwide daily. The recent discovery of NDMA in Zantac means that all these people may have unknowingly been ingesting a toxic carcinogen every day for years.
What Is the Case Plaintiffs' Lawyers Are Making in the Zantac Lawsuits?
Plaintiffs’ lawyers in the Zantac cases are making a lot of allegations of negligence and bad conduct. But, at core, the claim is that Plaintiffs’ claims can be, at best, distilled into allegations that the design of Zantac/ranitidine is inherently defective due to the risk of formation of NDMA. Accordingly, there should have been a warning telling doctors and patients of this risk.
Who Can File a Zantac Lawsuit?
My law firm is looking at potential Zantac plaintiffs who regularly used Zantac for a prolonged period and subsequently were diagnosed with cancer and, particularly, any of the following cancers:
- Stomach Cancer
- Bladder Cancer
- Breast Cancer (new study is expected to confirm this)
- Liver Cancer
- Kidney Cancer
- Testicular Cancer
- Uterine Cancer
- Small Intestine Cancer
- Colorectal Cancer
- Esophageal Cancer
Are Some Cancers More Linked to NDMA Than Others?
Ultimately, plaintiffs need to prove not only that Zantac causes cancer but that Zantac causes the specific cancer the victim believes was linked to the drug. There is a strong link between Zantac and stomach, breast, pancreatic and esophageal cancer.
Liver, colorectal, and bladder cancers are probably associated with ranitidine but the link is not as clear as that first group.
Kidney and lung cancer will likely be the biggest challenges in terms of mustering the scientific proof that will get past a Daubert motion (which is the defense motion to block the plaintiffs’ path to trial).
My guess is the science will eventually prove that NDMA exposure causes every type of cancer. Will that happen before the MDL judge rules on a Daubert motion? That is a tougher question.
Other potential Zantac plaintiffs include individuals who frequently used Zantac and suffered acute damage to their liver. I have not yet focused on liver injury cases. Our lawyers are focusing on Zantac cancer lawsuits.
It may take years for NDMA exposure to cause any of these cancers to develop. Our lawyers are looking at cases where the victim used Zantac or some generic form of ranitidine for more than three months.
What Is the Statute of Limitations Deadline for Zantac Claims?
The statute of limitations is complicated in Zantac cases because it depends on the law of each state. I can’t tell you the statute of limitations for your Zantac lawsuits.
If a two-year statute of limitations is applied to your case, the deadline to file a Zantac lawsuit might be in September 2021. Because it takes a while to put these cases together, you want to call a Zantac lawyer sooner rather than later to ascertain your rights and deadlines to bring a claim.
Who Are the Defendants in the Zantac Lawsuits?
GlaxoSmithKline is, of course, the main defendant. But the number of defendants originally in the Zantac litigation will surprise you. Why? Because plaintiffs’ lawyers brought claims against retailers and pharmacies for the generic ranitidine cases. So the defendants included:
- Albertsons Companies
- BJ’s Wholesale Club Holdings
- CVS Pharmacy, Inc.
- Dollar Tree/Family Dollar
- Duane Reade
- Express Scripts
- Giant Eagle
- Grocery Outlet
- Humara Pharmacy
- Medicine Shoppe International
- Price Chopper
- Publix Super Markets
- Rite Aid
- Sam’s Club
- ShopRite Supermarkets
- Southeastern Grocers
- Vitamin Shoppe Industries
- Vons Companies
- Walgreen Co.
- Walgreens Boot Alliance
- Wakefern Food
- Winn-Dixie Stores
- Wholesale Corporation
We have 50,000 claimants and counting. Glaxo’s net worth is $100 billion. Don’t these companies have enough to cover any settlement amount in these Zantac lawsuits?
The problem is some plaintiffs used generic ranitidine. So plaintiffs’ lawyers wanted to hold every entity in the supply chain accountable for the harm Zantac has caused. Should these distributors be responsible for defects in the drugs they sell?
The court said no this fall. So all of these defendants, assuming the ruling holds up on appeal, will be dismissed from the litigation. This is bad news for generic plaintiffs who might lose their chance at financial compensation. For Zantac plaintiffs, this might help speed up the litigation and the pace of a global Zantac settlement.
How the Zantac Litigation Work
On November 4, 2019, plaintiffs’ lawyers filed a consolidation petition to have all federal Zantac cancer lawsuits centralized under a single judge. Some people call this a class action. Our lawyers call it a class action. It is actually an MDL.
The petition argued that the “NDMA in Zantac is not an impurity that only recently made its way into the drug through shoddy manufacturing but is instead inherent to the drug’s molecular structure.” Of course, it can be both and probably is both in this case.
In February 2020, the Zantac lawsuits were assigned to U.S. District Judge Robin Rosenberg in Miami. This judge will preside over all the Zantac cases filed in federal court throughout the country.
In June 2020, Judge Rosenberg set forth a plan for pretrial discovery and disputes between the parties during the litigation process.
(Check back here frequently. Our lawyers regularly update the status of the Zantac lawsuits.)
What Is the Settlement Value of Zantac Cancer Claims?
When any new litigation starts, people want to know the individual settlement payout amounts of these Zantac cancer claims.
Speculating at this point is not a very useful exercise. But let’s do it, anyway. If the litigation goes very well, the number I would pull out of thin air is between $150,000 and $750,000 with an average of $100,000 to $200,000. The estimated trial value would be higher if you took your case to trial. Much higher. I mean, look at the Roundup verdicts where we saw a $1 billion compensation award. Of course, if the case goes to trial, there is also the risk of getting a zero verdict. But you have to understand that there may be more than a thousand Zantac lawsuits and only a handful will likely go to trial.
I think Roundup is a good comparable although I think juries will not be as angry at the Zantac defendants as they are Bayer. But there will be more Zantac claims. So I do not think it is hyperbole to contend, as many lawyers already have, that the Zantac litigation may ultimately dwarf the Roundup $10 billion settlement.
I think I’ve put in enough qualifiers, but I’ll say it one more time. All of this is naked speculation, okay? No one knows where these Zantac cancer lawsuits are ultimately going. We have eight cancers and we do not know which ones will stick and which will be dismissed by the judge as lacking scientific merit. But there is no question there are many lawyers out there who believe these Zantac lawsuits will result in significant compensation payouts for individual victims in an eventual global MDL class action settlement.
When Will the Zantac Lawsuit Be Settled?
When the Zantac lawsuits will settle depends on a number of factors. The biggest question is which type of cancer can be linked to NDMA. The science is evolving quickly but not every cancer will be definitively linked to NDMA and some Zantac lawsuits may be dismissed. For the Zantac claims that move forward, our lawyers long believed the first MDL class action trials will be in late 2021 or early 2022.
That is not going to happen. But we will see a state court Zantac trial in late 2022 and an MDL trial in early 2023. After a few of these cases go to trial, the jury verdicts in those cases will help establish the settlement payout amounts for both sides. So our lawyers really do expect many victims will ultimately get a settlement check as compensation for the harm that has been done.
This should ultimately lead to a final class action settlement. So how long the Zantac antacid lawsuits will take to settle depends on how soon we can get trial dates to really put pressure on the defendants. (Note: realistically, the first trial is looking more like mid-2022 now).
- FDA testing of Zantac from November 1, 2019, way be a core of their defense to these cases. But I don’t think the testing is correct and I think the evidence will back me up. I’d trust the Valisure testing over the FDA’s testing any day of the week.
How Can I Get in the Zantac Class Action Lawsuit?
If you are one of the millions of people who used Zantac for heartburn, acid reflux or other conditions, you may have been injured by prolonged exposure to NDMA.
If you think you may have developed cancer or otherwise been injured by using Zantac contact the lawyers at Miller & Zois today. We can investigate your case and evaluate whether you have a viable claim. Call 800-553-8082 or get advice from us for free online.