Heartburn is a very common ailment for folks in Illinois and across the country. While the ailment is common and is simply the result of a buildup of stomach acid, anyone who has dealt with esophageal and stomach pain can attest that heartburn is miserable. Over the years, large pharmaceutical companies and consumer health product stores and distributors like Walgreens in Illinois, have realized that the market for over the counter heartburn relief is very valuable. Enter Zantac, the blockbuster heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease-GERD, medication that has made its French manufacturer Sanofi SA and and Glaxo as well as United States retailers such as Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid, and others billions of dollars–at the expense of its customers.
What is wrong with Zantac?
Zantac is a popular antacid medicine originally manufactured by Glaxo (now known as GlaxoSmithKline) and has been in existence since the 1980s. Zantac (ranitidine) belongs to a family of histamine-2 blockers which work to help reduce the amount of acid produced by the stomach. Therefore, many consumers have been using this medication or its generic equivalent daily for years to combat indigestion. Prescription-strength Zantac is also utilized for the treatment of very severe heartburn, stomach/intestinal ulcers and for Zollinger-Ellison disorder. Zantac was one of the best-selling medications and was the first to reach $1 billion in U.S. sales. However, current laboratory screening of ranitidine, the active ingredient of Zantac, conclude that high levels of N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) is prevalent. NDMA has been recognized as a human health hazard since the 1970s and has been published as a potent human carcinogen by the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and numerous other organizations. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have published studies about the dangers of NDMA even at reduced dosages. Ingestion of NDMA has been shown to grow different types of cancer cells such as stomach cancer cells, colorectal cancer cells, bladder cancer cells, intestinal tract cancer cells, liver cancer cells, esophageal cancer cells, etc.
Has Zantac been recalled?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration after conducting its own tests on ranitidine published a public safety and security update in September 2019 which cautioned the general public about possible cancer dangers from Zantac use. Due to this public safety and security publication, voluntary recalls of Zantac have taken place. CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, Walmart and other major retailers have halted sales of Zantac and its generic equivalents. Sanofi, the current manufacturer of Zantac, has issued a voluntary recall in the United States and Canada. However, despite the voluntary recalls, the medicine was still available by prescription and over-the-counter at some stores. In April 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ordered the removal of Zantac off store shelves. Current prescriptions and over-the-counter Zantac will no longer be available.
Are there Zantac Lawsuits in Illinois?
There are currently 140 Zantac lawsuits filed since March 2020. We anticipate that thousands of lawsuits will be filed over the next few years alleging that Zantac causes cancer. There is a concern that because Zantac was widely used by the general public for so many years, that the number of possible claimants have the potential to be astronomical and may be larger than any other defective medicine lawsuits. At this time, private claims are being consolidated into federal court known as multi-district litigation (MDL).
The Zantac claims have been consolidated into an MDL and also designated to Judge Robin Rosenberg in the Southern District of Florida. MDL class actions give the claimants’ attorneys a chance to merge efforts into determining what Sanofi, the current manufacturer of Zantac, and Boehringer Ingelheim, the former manufacturer of Zantac from 2006-2016, knew about NDMA in Zantac and how that affected the threat of cancer cells. The fight against Sanofi, the manufacturer of Zantac, has only just begun.
Although legal representatives for Zantac consumers estimate that a settlement in a Zantac class action claim could be worth several billions of dollars. The basis for these lawsuits is that Sanofi had the opportunity to protect consumers about the possible cancer dangers from Zantac but failed to do so. Possible claimants would include anyone that used Zantac on a regular basis for any extended period of time and was ultimately diagnosed with cancer cells.
In April 2020, Judge Rosenberg of the Southern District of Florida issued an order that will certainly need a 2-tiered census of all the Zantac insurance claims. The first tier of the census is designed to provide the court an accurate picture of the number of individual claims in the MDL. This will aid Judge Rosenberg in selecting which legal representatives to server on the complainant leadership committee.
The second tier of the census will ask for lawyers to provide information on all specific complainant claims that are in the process of being checked but have not yet been submitted. This information will outline complainants’ affirmed Zantac usage as well as their physical injuries in order to assist the court with a seeing a broader picture of the extent of alleged injuries and usage of Zantac. This will create the basis for grouping private situations into rates for the purpose of settlement category.
Will I receive a Settlement for My Zantac Case in Illinois?
At this time, we do not know. We can hypothesize based upon previous, similar defective medicine lawsuits but we would not be able to give you a definitive amount at this time.
You would need to submit an extensive informational background that outlines your case history including timeframe of use of Zantac as well as medical documentation of cancer diagnosis. It is hypothesized that the proof of stomach cancer cells, colorectal cancer cells, bladder cancer cells, intestinal tract cancer cells, liver cancer cells and esophageal cancers may yield higher settlement payouts due in part to these types of cancers being very closely linked to NDMA.
Proof of use of prescription Zantac will be stronger evidence as opposed to over-the-counter because the history of your usage would be well-documented and not easily refuted.
Koester & Bradley, LLP is currently reviewing potential Zantac claims brought by previous Zantac consumers who have recently been diagnosed with cancer. If you or a loved one has developed cancer after use of Zantac, please call 217-337-1400 to discuss a potential claim.
Why should I Choose Koester & Bradley?
Our dangerous drug litigation team of Champaign bad drug lawyers at Koester & Bradley, LLP have been representing victims of corporate negligence and greed across the Country and Illinois longer than almost any other law firm in the area– and have a track record to prove our skill. If you or a family member or friend have developed cancer, and have taken Zantac, we want to help. Please call 217-337-1400 to provide our team with details of your case. We handle all of the details of the case including ordering all of your relevant medical records and having them reviewed by our medical screening team–for no cost to you. If we take your case, you become part of our family, and we will represent you on a contingent fee basis. This means that you owe us nothing if we do not make a recovery. Our national prominence and local presence make Koester & Bradley one of the most unique and focused law firms in Illinois.