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January 9, 2020

Toxic Zantac Caused Woman to Develop Esophageal Cancer, Lawsuit Claims

A new product liability lawsuit filed in New Jersey claims Zantac heartburn medication caused a woman to develop esophageal cancer, the popular drug allegedly containing harmful carcinogens. Similar Zantac cancer claims have been filed across the U.S., individuals calling out Zantac manufacturers for selling and distributing highly dangerous drugs to the public for years.

In this latest lawsuit, plaintiff Deborah Haskins alleges Zantac’s active ingredient, ranitidine, caused her to be exposed to high levels of a known human carcinogen which contributed to her esophageal cancer diagnosis. According to Haskins’ lawsuit, ranitidine’s chemical structure is highly unstable and can convert into carcinogen N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) when ingested. The FDA states NDMA is considered a probable human carcinogen, or a substance that can cause cancer, based on research and laboratory testing.

“As a direct and proximate result of ingesting Zantac, Plaintiff contracted Esophageal Cancer,” Haskins claims in her lawsuit. “Had Plaintiff been informed that taking Zantac would expose her to unsafe quantities of NDMA such that it could and did cause her to contract Esophageal Cancer, she never would have purchased or ingested Zantac.”

According to the American Cancer Society, symptoms of esophageal cancer usually do not show up until the cancer has reached an advanced stage, which is when it is harder to treat. Symptoms of esophageal cancer can include trouble swallowing, chest pain, weight loss, and vomiting among others.

Zantac Cancer Lawsuits

Zantac (ranitidine) is both an over-the-counter and prescription drug used to decrease the amount of acid the stomach creates. It is typically used to prevent and relieve heartburn, but it can also be used for prescriptive use to treat ulcers and gastroesophageal reflux disease.

In September 2019, the FDA first alerted the public that researchers discovered batches of Zantac (ranitidine) pills had levels of NDMA that exceeded the permissible daily intake limit of the carcinogen established by the FDA. Zantac has been on the market since 1986, so many consumers could have cancer diagnoses they were not aware were caused by their intake of Zantac.

While an official Zantac recall has not been put forth by the FDA so far, major pharmacies across the U.S. have recalled Zantac and pulled Zantac and generic ranitidine from their shelves out of caution. CVS Pharmacy, Walmart, Walgreens, and Appco Pharma LLC are among many others who have voluntarily recalled ranitidine and Zantac medications.

Haskins’ lawsuit joins dozens of other Zantac cancer lawsuits across the U.S. raising similar claims of the drug’s cancer-causing nature. Many of the claims filed in recent months say NDMA in Zantac caused individuals to develop cancers along the digestive tract, including the following cancers:

  • Esophageal cancer
  • Stomach cancer
  • Intestinal cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Bladder cancer
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Other GI cancers

A Zantac multidistrict litigation (MDL) has not been established yet to centralize and address the similar claims brought forward by Zantac cancer patients. However, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) is expected to meet soon to decide whether these claims should be centralized as part of a federal Zantac cancer MDL.

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