What's At Issue in
Zantac Lawsuit?

Zantac was a popular medicine, available both by prescription and over the counter, that treated both acid reflux and peptic ulcers. It was introduced in the mid-1980s and, within a few years, was the best-selling drug in the world. The reason for its success was simple: Zantac was effective.

As it turns out, it's also potentially deadly.

The issue isn't the medication itself, but rather what happens when the medication begins to degrade or break down. The active ingredient in Zantac was ranitidine. When ranitidine begins to degrade, it can create a carcinogenic chemical called NDMA. NDMA is, essentially, a poison. It's highly carcinogenic and can cause harm even in small doses. In the United States, it's considered an extremely hazardous substance and is highly regulated.

Unfortunately, ranitidine can degrade into NDMA in a number of circumstances, many of which are common or likely to happen. This includes (but may not be limited to):

  • Age of the medication. As ranitidine gets older, it becomes more likely to degrade into NDMA.
  • The amount of moisture the medication is exposed to. This doesn't just mean direct exposure to water; even humidity can cause ranitidine to degrade.
  • Exposure to high-nitrate foods, including many common vegetables.

Who May Be Affected By Ranitidine Exposure?

Anyone who took Zantac manufactured prior to 2021 could be affected by ranitidine exposure. In 2020, Zantac was reformulated with a different active ingredient. However, a reformulation does nothing to remove the boxes of ranitidine that were still in consumers' medicine cabinets — and those older medications are the most likely to have degraded into NDMA.

For the existing multi-district litigation (MDL) suit, you must meet the following criteria:

You must have taken Zantac at least once a week for at least a year.

You must have a diagnosis of one of the following cancers:

  • Bladder
  • Esophageal
  • Liver
  • Pancreatic
  • Stomach

Although other criteria may be considered for future lawsuits, this list is a good rule of thumb.

What Are Some of the Medical Issues That Have Been Claimed?

NDMA is extremely dangerous and can cause multiple injuries. The most concerning is the fact that it may cause multiple cancers, particularly cancers of the areas of the digestive system. As mentioned above, the cancers that have primarily been mentioned in the current MDL are stomach cancer, liver cancer, esophageal cancer, pancreatic cancer, and bladder cancer.

However, NDMA has been associated with many other kinds of cancer. If you believe you've been harmed by taking Zantac and you've developed a type of cancer that's not listed here, it doesn't mean you don't have a claim. Contact an attorney who is experienced in trying personal injury, mass tort, or MDLs to discuss your situation.

What To Do If You Think You Have a Claim

If you believe you have a claim, time is of the essence. Take the following steps:

  • Contact an attorney who has experience with these sorts of cases. Major product liability suits like this are different from other lawsuits, and you want a lawyer on your side who understands and can navigate the process.
  • Continue to see your doctor for medical care.
  • Collect any evidence you can, including medical records, any notes that you've taken along the way, and any receipts or packaging that you still have showing Zantac purchase and use

What's the Current Status of the Lawsuit?

Up to this point, there have been individual settlements, with the makers of Zantac providing financial compensation to the plaintiffs in the suit. A settlement of this sort does not mean that the makers of Zantac are necessarily guilty, only that both parties agreed to end the suit.

The current Zantac MDL (#2924) is, for lack of better words, a mess. In December 2022, all cases filed under the multi-district litigation were dismissed, and court actions in January and February 2023 have made it clear that an appeal is unlikely to be successful.

A voluntary registry was created for potential plaintiffs who believed that they had a case against Zantac but had not yet filed. The people on this registry may well be bound by the results of the MDL and may have little chance of success. If you're in this situation, your attorney will advise you on your next steps.

However, this does not mean that all Zantac lawsuits have failed. This was the result of a single MDL. In the future, other judges may present very different findings, and justice may prevail. Don't let the results of the current MDL prevent you from speaking with a lawyer about your own case. There's still time to file a Zantac lawsuit.

How Much Compensation is Available?

This is a tricky question. Up to this point, there hasn't been a verdict from a court forcing the makers of Zantac to pay; instead, the makers have settled cases. Typically, settled cases like this keep the amount confidential. So we don't have any information on how much the makers of Zantac have paid up to this point.

We can compare the Zantac lawsuit to the Roundup lawsuit, which similarly concerns a chemical causing cancer. The average settlement in the Roundup cases so far ranges from the tens of thousands to the low hundreds of thousands, although some settlements reach into the millions. The Zantac case may take a very different direction (and it's impossible to predict the amount of the damages), but for now, it's the closest we have to a guideline.

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1953 & 1987.


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Users of common baby powder who later developed ovarian cancer.

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