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Zantac Lawsuits Moving Forward

Lawyers Appointed in Zantac Lawsuits

The Multi-District Litigation (MDL) against the manufacturers of Zantac and its generics is moving forward with lawsuits in Florida under federal District Judge Robin Rosenberg. There are more than 230 cases within the MDL, which is entitled IN RE: Zantac (Ranitidine) Products Liability Litigation.

Judge Rosenberg has appointed 26 plaintiff attorneys to lead the Florida Zantac lawsuits.  The defendant drug companies continue to assert that the antacid medication does not cause cancer.

What is Multi-District Litigation?

Multi-district litigation is a means through which a singular federal court is appointed to handle multiple cases that have similar facts at one time.  They are common in dangerous drug lawsuits due to the vast number of plaintiffs that share similar complaints.  All of the cases are consolidated temporarily during the pre-trial phase.   Approximately four or five of the cases are then chosen by the judge to go to trial – these are known as the bellwether trials.  The results of the first trials affect how negotiations go for the remaining cases – if the bellwether trials result in big verdicts, the remaining plaintiffs will likely be offered large settlements.  

While MDL’s sound similar to class action suits, they have an important distinction.  In a class-action suit, each member of the class receives the same amount of settlement money. That is not the case in MDLs, where each individual plaintiff receives a separate amount of money based on the facts of his or her case.

Parties to the Zantac MDL

There are numerous plaintiffs suing the drug manufacturer of Zantac and its generics.  More will be added.

Some of the current drug companies that are defendants in the Florida Multi-District Litigation (others may be added) are:

  • Sanofi
  • Pfizer, Inc.
  • Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
  • GlaxoSmithKline LLC
  • Chattem, Inc.

Other defendants include retailers, pharmaceutical ingredient manufacturers, and distributors.

Basis of the Zantac MDL

The defendants in the Zantac lawsuits are accused of failing to warn consumers of the dangers of Zantac, and false advertising.  Zantac, along with its generic formulations of ranitidine, is an antihistamine and antacid that treats and prevents heartburn, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and ulcers, among other conditions resulting from or causing excessive stomach acid.

On April 1, 2020, after a period of investigation, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration recalled all over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription Zantac/ranitidine products because many of the formulations contained high levels of NDMA, which is a known human carcinogen.  The NDMA levels were also found to increase with age and in high temperatures.

Defendant’s Stance on Zantac Lawsuits

After the plaintiff lawyers had been chosen, defendants said that the litigation is based on “mights and maybes” and continued to assert that there was no causal link between Zantac/ranitidine and cancer.  The defense attorney for pharmaceutical company Sanofi SA suggested that this was a case of law leading science rather than following it.  

How Long Until Zantac Lawsuits Settle?

Due to their complexity, lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies, and especially MDL cases, take time to litigate – at least a couple of years.  The litigation period has just begun, and the recalls only began in 2019, with the full FDA recall less than two months ago, at the beginning of April 2020.  

In the clip below, CBS This Morning discusses the concerns of Zantac safety.

Drug Products Liability Lawyer in Sacramento

I’m Ed Smith, a Drug Products Liability Lawyer in Sacramento. If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with a disease or health condition related to your use of a prescription or over-the-counter medication, please feel free to call us for free and friendly advice at 916-921-6400 or 800-404-5400.

I am a part of the following legal associations:

Million Dollar Advocates Forum

National Association of Distinguished Counsel.

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