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Ranitidine—better known by the brand name Zantac—has been prescribed to many people in Minnesota for the treatment of stomach disorders such as acid reflux. Unfortunately, it turns out the relief it provided to many people with stomach issues may have been too good to be true. The popular drug contains a carcinogenic compound that can cause different types of cancer.
If you or a loved one in Minnesota has been diagnosed with cancer after taking ranitidine in Zantac or a generic such as Sanofi, you have the right to seek financial compensation for damages, including medical costs, pain and suffering, lost earnings, and other damages. At Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers, our Minnesota Zantac and Ranitidine Cancer Attorneys will be the strong advocate you need to make things right.
We have Zantac lawyers in Minnesota in:
Call our Minnesota product liability Lawyers toll-free at 1-855-NICOLET for a free, no-risk, no-obligation consultation.
Zantac is an over-the-counter medication that people primarily use when experiencing stomach acid-based gastrointestinal issues, including:
For decades, Zantac was a mainstay on store shelves. Starting in 1983, when the FDA approved it, Zantac and its generic versions provided heartburn relief to tens of millions of Americans. This is not the case anymore. It was more than just competitive pressure from medications like proton pump inhibitors that caused the end of Zantac.
The discovery that Zantac contained a dangerous substance known to cause cancer in laboratory animals caused a mass recall of Zantac and all drugs like it. Now, the companies that made the drug and the stores that sold it are facing lawsuits. We expect this case to grow in the short term to become a possible multibillion-dollar mass tort litigation.
Up until a few years ago, most people had never heard of a substance called NDMA. Also known as N-Nitrosodimethylamine, this volatile yellow oil is a known carcinogen when people consume it in certain quantities. In the past few years, many drugs contained this potentially dangerous substance.
This may be just the tip of the iceberg in the pharmaceutical industry. For whatever reason, drugmakers marketed medications that were inherently dangerous to the public. In many cases, they sold a product that was not tainted but created this dangerous substance on its own. This is exactly what happened to Zantac. The active ingredient of Zantac, ranitidine, created dangerous levels of NDMA that caused serious and life-threatening illnesses to thousands of patients who turned to the medicine to help with their heartburn.
Much of the credit for discovering the dangers of Zantac goes to an online pharmaceutical company called Valisure. This company did the work that the FDA was either slow to do or did not do at all on its own. In fact, when the problem first came to light, the FDA did not fully explain the dangers of Zantac to the public. The agency’s initial testing drastically understated the levels of NDMA in Zantac to the public. The FDA also was slow to detect the source of the NDMA in the drug.
While the FDA was very slow to do its job, the drugmakers themselves seemed to recognize the seriousness of the situation as soon as the FDA announced that ranitidine contained NDMA. Major drugstore chains immediately pulled these products from the shelves. Within a few months, practically every ranitidine product was off the market. It was not until seven months after the initial announcement that the FDA ordered a halt in ranitidine sales. Suddenly, a product that provided heartburn relief for 38 years was no longer relevant except for the lawsuits.
Concerns emerged years before the FDA made any announcement to the public about the dangers of Zantac:
The makers of all ranitidine-based products were well aware of these findings. However, sales of this product continued until the FDA made its first public statement about Zantac containing NDMA. There was little way that these companies could not be aware of the possibility that products could be dangerous. Usually, their legal obligation would be to pull the product from the market or warn the public about the dangers. At the very minimum, they should have investigated further. However, every single one of the ranitidine drug manufacturers kept on selling the product.
This includes companies like:
It turns out that the active ingredient in Zantac was the reason why it was so dangerous. Ranitidine is an unstable substance. On its own in normal conditions, ranitidine is not necessarily dangerous. Once the substance has exposure to heat, it can form NDMA on its own. There is even some suspicion that the presence of certain substances in the stomach along with ranitidine can lead to the production of NDMA in the human body. In other words, this product may not have been dangerous when it left the factory, but it became hazardous over time. For purposes of liability, all that matters is that Zantac was unreasonably dangerous.
We are just beginning to learn the extent of the danger that patients have been placed in by taking Zantac for years. It is hard to even know because each lot of Zantac may have different levels of NDMA based on the temperature of its storage. According to some researchers, all it takes is 24 hours at 70 degrees Fahrenheit or higher for ranitidine to start a conversion to NDMA.
For now, we know that millions of patients regularly took a drug that has dangerously high levels of a carcinogen. This does not mean that every single one of them will develop cancer. The human body can tolerate a certain amount of NDMA. According to the World Health Organization, the body can safely tolerate up to 190 nanograms of NDMA each day. The FDA has set 96 nanograms per day as the limit for medications. However, ingesting more than that is not an assurance of cancer. After all, NDMA is in things that humans regularly consume, such as smoked meats and even their drinking water.
Currently, the Zantac lawsuit is slowly growing into a larger case. Right now, there are nearly 600 active cases, and we expect the number to grow. They combined these cases into multidistrict litigation in federal court in the Southern District of Florida, and assigned the Zantac to the Hon. Robin Rosenberg, and these cases are all in their beginning phases. There is still a long way until these cases reach trial. That does not mean that you can take your time to file your lawsuit. You have only two years from the time that you learned that you were injured to bring your case before you lose the right to sue.
The multidistrict litigation means that the cases are together for purposes of discovery and pretrial motions, such as motions to dismiss and summary judgment. Each one will get a separate hearing in front of a jury. Usually, they will try a few cases first in front of a jury. If the plaintiffs win those cases, you can be certain that the defendants will work hard to settle. After all, they do not want untold billions of dollars of liability.
The rules of product liability law state that any company that either made the product or had a role in selling it to you can be legally responsible when it injured you. It does not matter who was ultimately at fault. All that matters is that you were hurt, and the defendants can figure out how much each pays on their own. Here, the Zantac lawsuits are also suing drugstores and other retail outlets that sold the product. There are plenty of companies that made huge profits for a long time selling Zantac and generic versions that now face lawsuits.
While each Zantac lawsuit is different, they usually contain similar grounds.
Some allegations in the Zantac lawsuits include:
Product liability lawsuits are not always easy to prove. To begin with, defendants come to fight when they know that they could be responsible for billions of dollars in damages. They only begin to talk settlement when they either lose some cases and are slapped with jury verdicts, or they realize after discovery that the plaintiffs have gathered compelling evidence against them. This is why you need a tough and experienced product liability attorney to get to the bottom of your case and put pressure on the drugmakers.
To win your Zantac and ranitidine lawsuit, you would need to prove that the product was defective, and you suffered injuries.
In their Zantac lawsuits, plaintiffs are trying to prove:
If the plaintiffs can prove any one of these three in the Zantac lawsuits, it does not matter what companies like Sanofi or GlaxoSmithKline did or what their intentions were. Unless a few very limited exceptions apply, the defendants would be automatically responsible and legally obligated to pay damages.
Even if the plaintiffs cannot prove that the product was defective, they could still recover compensation if they could show that the defendants negligently designed or made Zantac. This requires that they prove that the defendants acted unreasonably.
So the question that you are probably asking is how much you could receive for your Zantac claim. This depends on whether your Zantac case goes to trial. Most mass tort cases like these settle after the defendant loses the first handful of cases.
The first few cases are generally worth millions of dollars because juries award more than plaintiffs receive in settlements. The award is even higher if the jury decides to award punitive damages. Here, the Zantac plaintiffs have asked for them because they argue that the drug manufacturers intentionally ignored information and misled the public.
Your Zantac settlement or jury award would need to compensate you for:
Many of these cases are filed as wrongful death claims since the types of cancer connected to Zantac can often be deadly.
In our experience, cancer lawsuits generally have a six-figure settlement attached to them. They reach a higher neighborhood in the six figures when it is a deadly form of cancer. Based on other recent mass tort settlements for products that contain carcinogens, we estimate that a Zantac settlement could result in $200,000 to $500,000 if defendants entered into a global settlement. Of course, your case could result in far more or less compensation.
If you or a loved one was diagnosed with cancer after taking Zantac or a generic ranitidine medication, you could use our help to obtain the financial compensation you deserve. Contact Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers for your free consultation today.