There are currently several lawsuits that allege that Zantac can become contaminated with a carcinogen known as NDMA (N-nitrosodimethylamine). Below, we’ll discuss these lawsuits in more detail.
What is Zantac?
Zantac is an over-the-counter and prescription antacid that is heavily marketed on television, in print, and on the internet. You’ve probably seen a number of commercials for Zantac yourself. It is a brand of common medication that is used to treat heartburn, gastrointestinal reflux disease, and peptic (stomach) ulcers. The name of the active ingredient drug is ranitidine.
Ranitidine works as a stomach acid antagonist. In other words, it reduces the production of stomach acid in your body by blocking certain histamine receptors.
Recently, there have been allegations that Zantac causes NDMA exposure in patients that is unrelated to manufacturing contamination. In other words, all brands of ranitidine show some quantity of NDMA.
What is NDMA?
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NDMA is listed by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as a compound that is “probably” a cancer-causing agent. The US National Toxicology Program listed it as a compound that can be “reasonably anticipated” to cause cancer in humans. As a matter of fact, NDMA is used to induce cancer in laboratory rats.
Exposure to NDMA has been linked to a wide variety of cancers, most of which are related to the GI tract. These include:
- Esophageal cancer
- Stomach cancer
- Small intestine cancer
- Colorectal cancer
- Liver cancer
It could also be linked to:
- Early-onset prostate cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Multiple myeloma
There is some question over whether or not the testing methods used to determine the quantity of NDMA in Zantac actually produced greater quantities of NDMA. The testing materials were exposed to high temperatures, which could have caused the ranitidine to break down into NDMA. However, as more lawsuits have been filed and a recall has been issued, that explanation seems less than likely.
NDMA is used as an industrial lubricant in aviation and is an ingredient in rocket fuel. It is likewise a byproduct of industrial manufacturing including gasoline refining water treatment. It can be found in some processed meats in low amounts, as well as in tobacco smoke.
NDMA is classified as “extremely hazardous” under the Emergency and Planning Community Right to Know Act of 1987. There are extremely strict reporting requirements for anyone who produces, stores, or uses the substance.
The Zantac Lawsuits
On September 13th, 2019 the FDA reported discovering NDMA in Zantac. The FDA later announced that the level of NDMA discovered in Zantac was “low” despite the level being several thousand times higher than established safe exposure levels.
The first lawsuit was filed in California the same day the FDA published its report. Plaintiffs are accusing pharmaceutical companies that manufactured ranitidine of knowing that their drug had a carcinogen in it and failing to warn doctors or patients about the potential side effects.
While the cause of the contamination is not known, ranitidine is known to break down into NDMA as per the official findings of the FDA. This appears to demonstrate a firm link between ranitidine and NDMA.
Additionally, when ranitidine comes into contact with water, it creates a chemical reaction that causes the substance to break down into NDMA.
Lawyers allege that pharmaceutical companies such as Sanofi and Boehringer Ingelheim knew that their medication caused cancer to their patients and failed to disclose that information, causing several individuals to develop a cancer that they would not have otherwise had.
In addition to containing a known carcinogen, there have been other allegations against Zantac. Even short-term exposure to NDMA can cause:
- Cirrhosis of the liver
- Arrhythmia and tachycardia
- B-12 deficiency
- Liver failure and jaundice
- Increased risk of pneumonia
- Low platelet levels in the blood
- Skin problems such as rashes and hair loss
If you have experienced kidney, liver, or lung problems since taking the medication, you should speak to an attorney immediately.
Who Can File a Claim in a Zantac Lawsuit?
In order to get compensation from the companies that manufacture Zantac, you must be able to prove that you used the drug. For those who were prescribed ranitidine, this will be as easy as getting evidence of the prescription from your doctor or pharmacy records. Those who took Zantac over the counter will need to prove use through receipts, notes in medical records, witness statements, or any other means.
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The next step will be to prove that you have an injury. This can include any disease or condition that has been scientifically established to be likely for you and others like you who took the medication for any period of time. If you have developed cancer or have experienced any side effects, then you should file a claim. You will need to provide copies of your medical records which your lawyer can help you with.
Lastly, your attorney will need to show that it is more likely than not that your cancer is linked to your use of ranitidine. Your attorney will do much of this job for you. We will get expert witnesses to testify concerning the carcinogenic properties of the medication. We will also provide evidence that the companies that manufactured the drug knew and covered up knowledge that their product caused cancer.
What Kind of Damages Can I Recover?
You are entitled to recoup any out-of-pocket expenses related to your injury. This includes medical expenses, travel expenses to doctors, and more. Additionally, you are entitled to recover lost wages or missed time from work during which you were not bringing in any income. Lastly, you are entitled to recover damages for pain and suffering which includes both physical pain and suffering, and any reduction in your quality of life.
Your attorney will detail all this information in your claim file and ensure that you are given the maximum possible award given the evidence you produce.
Call the Roger Ghai Law Offices Today
If you’ve suffered due to Zantac use, you are entitled to recover damages. Call the Roger Ghai Law Offices today to schedule a free consultation.