Heartburn Medication Recalls Due to Cancer Risk: Zantac Litigation Update

What you should know:

  • On April 1, 2020, the FDA requested that all manufacturers immediately withdraw all prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) ranitidine drugs from the market.
  • The generic name for the drug Zantac is ranitidine.
  • The medication may contain a cancer-causing chemical.
  • Some ranitidine medications had already been recalled prior to this announcement.
  • Lawsuits have been filed by individuals who have taken Zantac and developed cancer.
  • The lawsuits accuse drug makers of manufacturing, marketing and selling a product they knew or should have known had a chemical known to cause cancer, yet did nothing to warn consumers.
  • Contact Borgess Law at (567) 455-5955 for a freeconfidential and no-obligation consultation if you believe you might have a potential claim.

Additional details:

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s April 1, 2020 announcement is the latest step in an ongoing investigation of a contaminant known as N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) in ranitidine medications (commonly known by the brand name Zantac). Previously, on September 13, 2019, the FDA reported that some ranitidine medicines, including some products commonly known as the brand-name drug Zantac, contain NDMA, which is classified as a probable human carcinogen (a substance that could cause cancer).  Since this time, there have been recalls of various ranitidine medicines containing unacceptable levels.  Now the FDA is sending letters to all manufacturers of ranitidine requesting they withdraw their products from the market.

With respect to individuals currently taking Zantac or other ranitidine medication, the FDA’s April 1st announcement states:

  • The FDA is also advising consumers taking OTC ranitidine to stop taking any tablets or liquid they currently have, dispose of them properly and not buy more; for those who wish to continue treating their condition, they should consider using other approved OTC products. Patients taking prescription ranitidine should speak with their health care professional about other treatment options before stopping the medicine, as there are multiple drugs approved for the same or similar uses as ranitidine that do not carry the same risks from NDMA. To date, the FDA’s testing has not found NDMA in famotidine (Pepcid), cimetidine (Tagamet), esomeprazole (Nexium), lansoprazole (Prevacid) or omeprazole (Prilosec).  In light of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the FDA recommends patients and consumers not take their medicines to a drug take-back location but follow the specific disposal instructions in the medication guide or package insert or follow the agency’s recommended steps, which include ways to safely dispose of these medications at home.

For Consumers Who Developed Cancer After Taking:

For individuals who developed cancer after taking Zantac or other ranitidine medication, multiple Zantac lawsuits have now been filed across the country accusing drug makers, including Sanofi and Boerhringer Ingelheim, of manufacturing, marketing and selling a product they knew or should have known had a chemical known to cause cancer, yet did nothing to warn consumers.

In November, 2019, certain plaintiffs filed a petition for coordination with the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, (“JPML”).  Specifically, the petition asked the JPML to consolidate the cases as a “MDL” (multi-district litigation).  A MDL is a type of legal proceeding that helps federal courts efficiently manage many similar cases filed in many different courts across the U.S. by allowing the temporary transfer of all of the federal civil lawsuits to one or more district courts for pretrial consolidation or coordination.  The JPML is a group of federal judges designated by the Chief Justice of the United States, which has the responsibility for determining which cases qualify for treatment as a MDL, as well as which district court to transfer and consolidate these cases. The transfers are made if the Panel determines that it will result in the convenience of the parties and witnesses and will promote the just and efficient conduct of the cases. Even if consolidated, however, each Zantac case would maintain its own individual identity.  MDLs are not the same as class actions. (For more information about MDLs and the JPML, contact Borgess Law.)

In February, 2020, the JPML agreed and centralized the Zantac Products Liability Litigation in the Southern District of Florida before Judge Robin L. Rosenberg.

How we can help if you believe you may have a legal claim:

Borgess Law, LLC is currently reviewing potential legal claims for individuals who have been diagnosed with bladder, stomach or other cancer after taking Zantac or other ranitidine medication.  There is no charge for this review. 

Attorney Pamela A. Borgess, the founder of Borgess Law, LLC, has extensive experience with numerous national high-profile defective medical drug/device cases and can discuss your legal options. For more information about the Zantac litigation or to discuss a potential claim, contact Borgess Law at (567) 455-5955. You can also contact Borgess Law by submitting an online inquiry. Again, this consultation is free and confidential. We welcome any questions you may have.


*This blog does not contain medical advice and is not intended to substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.  Please consult with your physician for personalized medical advice.