Cancer patients who have become ill after taking the heartburn drug Zantac are pushing for expedited hearings of their claims in courts in the state of California.
According to www.law360.com, “Attorneys representing 40 people with cancer who allege that Sanofi-Aventis US LLC, Pfizer Inc. and other pharmaceutical companies hid the risks that heartburn drug Zantac could produce a carcinogen are asking to have their cases consolidated in California.
In a petition filed Monday, the plaintiffs in the 40 cases asked to have their suits linked in a judicial council coordinated proceeding to consolidate pretrial and trial phases of the cases, which they said would work alongside the existing Zantac multidistrict litigation in Florida.
If the petition is successful, those who have been injured by the cancer-causing drug Zantac will receive their day in court sooner.
GlaxoSmithKline LLC, which first created Zantac in the 1970s, is named as a defendant in all the cases, while the cases variously name Pfizer, Sanofi, and Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals Inc., depending on which version of the drug they took, either the name-brand Zantac, or its generic version, ranitidine, according to a press release from the plaintiffs' attorneys.
Swiss drugmaker Novartis AG pulled its version of Zantac off the shelves in September, shortly after the Food and Drug Administration issued a warning about "low levels" of N-Nitrosodimethylamine, or NDMA, in the pills. The FDA requested all drug manufacturers withdraw the drugs in April.
Plaintiffs in the suits, which were filed in May in Alameda County Court, include the mother of an 8-year-old boy who alleges that her use of Zantac while pregnant resulted in her son developing testicular cancer. Other plaintiffs allege the drug also resulted in bladder, kidney, prostate and thyroid cancer.
According to the suits, the companies have known since the 1980s that ranitidine can create NDMA when exposed to heat and when digested alongside foods that contain nitrites, which are common in heartburn-causing foods.
Until it was pulled off the shelves in April 2020, Zantac was one of the most popularly prescribed drugs for heartburn and other gastric ailments. Its generic equivalent ranitidine also enjoyed wide popularity as an over-the-counter medicine. The fact that it has been so popular for decades, the number of people who have been adversely affected by this dangerous drug is incalculable.
According to law360.com, “The suits further allege that GSK worked to discredit studies in the 1980s that showed that the drug could create NDMA, which attorneys for the plaintiffs described as a "potent carcinogen," and that GSK and other manufacturers didn't report safety data on the drugs to the FDA.
Despite knowing the risks associated with taking Zantac, the companies failed to warn its users and advertised the product as medication to take while eating the very foods that would cause it to create that carcinogen, according to the suits.
It is clear from what we already know that Zantac is a dangerous drug and its manufacturers put aside safety concerns in order to pursue the maximization of profits. Pharmaceutical companies such as GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis AG are fiduciaries and therefore have a responsibility to the general public to behave in the public’s best interest. This is not what happened in the case of Zantac. If you or a loved one have taken the drug Zantac and experienced serious health issues such as cancer, please contact expert drug lawyer David Rheingold immediately for a free consultation.