Sanofi, a French healthcare company, has been accused of destroying internal emails which were tied to the 2019 recall of the heartburn medication Zantac. Zantac was officially removed from U.S. shelves last April due to contamination from N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA). The FDA determined that NDMA in Zantac increases both over time and when stored at higher than room temperatures, resulting in unacceptable levels of consumer exposure which could cause cancer.
In a filing from lawyers representing over 130,000 former Zantac patients, Sanofi was accused of widespread destruction of employee emails relating to the 2019 recall. This was in violation of several Court Orders. Sanofi and several other companies are faced with lawsuits claiming they attempted to conceal the cancer risks associated with the drug. In addition, new filings allege that the drugmakers have put up roadblocks in attempts to delay the legal process.
The deleted emails, including those sent by Michael Bailey, head of regulatory affairs for Sanofi’s U.S. Consumer Healthcare division, will make it significantly more difficult for patients to demonstrate that the company allowed NDMA to taint Zantac.
The disappearance of these vital emails has “resulted in the delay and/postponement of many key Sanofi depositions”, lawyers for patients affected by Zantac argue.
A spokeswoman for the company stated that Sanofi “did not intentionally destroy any emails related to the Zantac litigation”, and that “any suggestion to the contrary is false”. In addition, Sanofi representatives claim that they are attempting to obtain as much of the data as possible from alternative sources. The company continues to maintain that "this issue has no impact on the strong defenses Sanofi has in this litigation, and the company remains fully confident in the safety of Zantac”.
Similarly, other drugmakers such as GlaxoSmithKline, Boehringer Ingelheim, and multiple other generic companies are also being accused of failing to warn patients about the potential risks of Zantac. The plaintiffs’ lawyers are also concerned that GlaxoSmithKline has been censoring documents, in hopes that the court delay’s their legal proceedings.
Rheingold, Giuffra, Ruffo & Plotkin LLP is accepting cases concerning Zantac-related cancers. If you or a loved one have been affected by Zantac, please contact us today for a free initial consultation.