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Zantac Cancer Lawsuits

The Blackwell Law Firm is currently reviewing medical information from former Zantac users diagnosed with cancer. Zantac is also known by its generic name Ranitidine.

In September 2019, following alarming research studies, our Food & Drug Administration (FDA) warned doctors and the public of cancer risks from the medication. Multiple countries have now banned or halted shipments of ranitidine. Due to the serious carcinogenic properties of this medication, thousands of cancer lawsuits will likely be filed in the next few years.

We believe drug companies had many opportunities to protect consumers from Zantac (and generic ranitidine products) and the risk of cancer. Drug companies knew the risks but chose to continue selling the pills for many years. Drug makers chose profits over people for many years.

What is Zantac?

Zantac (Ranitidine) was a hugely popular antacid drug. The drug has been available to consumers since the 1980s. Over many years, millions of people used the drug and its generic equivalents.

The drug company Glaxo (GlaxoSmithKline) originally developed and patented Zantac. The drug was approved and released in the United States as a prescription medication in 1983. Once released, Glaxo spent millions of dollars to market the medication to doctors and the public. The investment returned millions in profits.

By 1986, Zantac reached $1 Billion in sales. By 1988, Zantac had become the world’s best-selling drug. In 1989, Zantac contributed almost half of Glaxo’s annual sales. Zantac became a best-selling blockbuster medication. Zantac produced massive sales year-after-year. These massive sales continued for decades.

Zantac became available without a prescription in 1996. Other companies quickly entered the over-the-counter (OTC) market. Several huge drug companies began producing ranitidine products, including Boehringer, Sanofi and Pfizer. Demand for antacids was high. Many drug makers were eager to profit.

How Does Zantac Work?

Ranitidine (as Zantac is known generically) belongs to a family of drugs known as histamine-2 or H2 blockers. Ranitidine (and other H2 blockers) work by decreasing the amount of acid produced in the stomach. That is why they are commonly called antacids. Over the counter (OTC) versions of ranitidine are commonly used to treat heartburn and reflux. Prescription-strength Zantac remained available to treat severe heartburn as well as stomach ulcers until recently.

What Makes Zantac Harmful?

NDMA is an unstable organic chemical unintentionally created as a byproduct of certain industrial and natural processes. NDMA is a member of the N-nitrosamines, a potent family of carcinogens. NDMA is highly toxic to the human body.

Years ago, NDMA was commercially produced for use in making rocket fuel. However, the chemical is no longer produced for commercial uses in the United States. Now, it is only produced for the very limited purpose of scientific research, such as studying cancerous tumors in laboratory animals. NDMA is a known carcinogen.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has classified NDMA as a probable human carcinogen. The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated scientific testing indicates NDMA consumption is positively associated with gastric or colorectal cancers. In studies, animals exposed to NDMA developed cancers in the stomach, liver, kidney, bladder, pancreas and other organs. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has long noted the risks of NDMA even at low dosages. NDMA is a dangerous cancer-causing chemical.

Through the years, the detection of NDMA in consumer products prompted several safety recalls. Since 2018, our Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has recalled several generic blood pressure medications due to nitrosamine impurities. These include valsartan and losartan. For valsartan, NDMA was only present in some of the pills as an impurity in the manufacturing process. NDMA was a manufacturing impurity with these blood pressure medications. Ranitidine is different and the facts are much worse. With ranitidine, the drug itself actually creates NDMA as a by-product.

For Zantac (ranitidine), NDMA is an actual byproduct of the ranitidine molecule itself. NDMA is likely created in a chemical reaction caused by the instability of the ranitidine molecule. That means the amount of actual NDMA in individual pills may increase as each pill ages or undergoes environmental reactions. The older and longer Zantac sits in your cabinet, the greater the level of NDMA.

What kind of environmental reactions create NDMA from ranitidine? What conditions cause your Zantac medication to produce dangerous NDMA? Current research shows ranitidine interacts with nitrites and acids in the human stomach to form NDMA. Research also indicates ranitidine interacts with human enzymes present in other organs to create NDMA. That means ranitidine likely leads to NDMA formation in the stomach (and other organs). The creation of NDMA by ranitidine in the human body has concerned researchers for many years.

Because of the way Zantac reacts in the human body, users may have been exposed to serious levels of NDMA on a frequent basis. Zantac users may have a significantly increased risk of cancer.

Is the potential level of NDMA in a single Zantac pill significant? In 2019, a pharmaceutical testing lab named Valisure decided to perform independent testing on various antacid drugs because of concerns about the presence of NDMA. The test results were shocking! According to the FDA, the maximum safe level of daily NDMA exposure is 96 nanograms. Yet, Valisure testing found that one OTC Zantac tablet actually contained 2,511,469 nanograms of NDMA. Valisure immediately reported its testing results to the FDA. The FDA then conducted additional testing.

What Actions Were Taken to Prevent Zantac Injuries?

For years, drug makers ignored the known science related to NDMA and cancer. After the independent laboratory Valisure reported its test results, the danger could no longer be ignored.

In September 2019, the FDA issued a warning concerning the potential cancer risk from Zantac, indicating Valisure testing detected high levels of NDMA in pills. Subsequent testing by the FDA also resulted in unacceptable levels of NDMA in Zantac. As usual, the FDA acted far too slowly – allowing drug companies to profit from dangerous drugs as long as possible.

Following the FDA warning, pharmacies pulled Zantac from their shelves. Major pharmacies such as CVS, Walgreens, Walmart and RiteAid all acted to remove ranitidine from their stores. Most manufacturers have now issued recalls or halted distribution. While this may prevent future users, many long-term users have already suffered years of serious NDMA exposure.

In April 2020, the FDA issued another ranitidine announcement. In this announcement, the FDA recognized what scientists already knew:

  • NDMA is a probable human carcinogen (cancer causing substance).
  • NDMA levels in ranitidine medications increase “even under normal storage conditions.”
  • NDMA levels increase significantly in ranitidine medications stored at higher temperatures, including temperatures during distribution.
  • NDMA levels increase as the ranitidine pill ages.

The FDA then requested all manufacturers withdraw their ranitidine products and that all consumers stop taking these over-the-counter medications. The FDA noted that other non-ranitidine products are available.

What Cancers are Likely Linked to NDMA Exposure from Zantac?

We believe the evidence that NDMA causes cancer is overwhelming. Research indicates NDMA is highly carcinogenic. Zantac lawyers are evaluating whether consumers may be entitled to compensation for several types of cancer. These cancers include:

  • Liver Cancer
  • Stomach Cancer
  • Kidney Cancer
  • Colorectal Cancer
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Esophageal Cancer
  • Pancreatic Cancer
  • Bladder Cancer
  • Small Intestine Cancer
  • Lung Cancer (Non-Smokers)
  • Brain Cancer
  • Testicular Cancer
  • Ovarian Cancer
  • Uterine Cancer
  • Thyroid Cancer
What is the Status of Court Proceedings for Zantac Injuries?

The number of personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits related to Zantac (ranitidine) continues to grow. In February 2020, Federal Courts consolidated the growing number of pending cases for pretrial purposes. The cases were consolidated before Federal Judge Robin Rosenberg in Florida.

What does this mean for your lawsuit? This means Judge Rosenberg will oversee all pretrial proceedings and discovery. When cases are consolidated for discovery, it gives plaintiffs’ attorneys an opportunity to pool resources and work together toward investigating the issues, gathering information through discovery, and negotiating a possible settlement. At the Blackwell Law Firm, we have represented injured Alabama consumers in consolidated cases across the United States.

Although the cases are consolidated for pretrial issues like discovery, Alabama law still applies to your individual case. Your attorney should have experience preparing personal injury and defective product cases for trial under Alabama law. We have that experience. We focus all our resources on preparing cases for our injured Alabama clients.

Who Should Consider Filing a Zantac Cancer Lawsuit?

Individuals who developed cancer after taking Zantac can consider a personal injury lawsuit. Family members may consider a wrongful death lawsuit for relatives who developed a fatal cancer after consuming ranitidine.

Our laws vary from state to state. If injured, you may be entitled to compensatory damages for losses such as medical bills, lost wages, lost past and future earnings, pain and suffering, disability, and other compensable damages. We believe you should seek legal advice from a skilled attorney in your state. We believe it is important that an attorney who handles these cases be skilled in preparing personal injury cases under the unique law of your state.

Our firm provides free consultations and case reviews for personal injury cases. This includes Zantac cancer cases. It costs you nothing out-of-pocket. We are only paid if you win. Our lawyers practice exclusively in the field of personal injury and trial work. We have one goal – Prepare our personal injury cases to recover the maximum compensation possible for our clients. We are available for a free and confidential consultation. Please feel free to contact us.

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