In September of 2019, an online Connecticut pharmacy informed the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, that it had discovered the chemical NDMA in some batches of Zantac and its generic version ranitidine. NDMA, like radon or asbestos, is named a carcinogen because it is highly likely to cause cancer and should not be included in common products.

Zantac, the brand name of a popular heartburn drug is typically used for different digestive issues like acid reflux and is also known to help with pain stemming from ulcers. Like many recent medications, Zantac is now coming under fire for not disclosing the possible NDMA contamination to consumers or for not pulling products from the market once they knew.

In early 2020, many popular retailers like Walmart, Walgreens, and CVS pulled prescription and over the counter forms of Zantac off of their shelves following concerns. In April, the FDA announced that it was requesting more than a dozen manufacturers of ranitidine products to remove them from the market after FDA tests showed a risk to public health from NDMA contamination.

Now, hundreds of lawsuits have been filed against drug manufacturers in relation to Zantac. Due to decades of customers purchasing and using Zantac, many users of Zantac now have a claim against manufacturers due to the potentially cancer-causing chemical within the medication.

What is the Issue with Zantac?

Zantac was first released to the market in 1983, but it wasn’t until late 2019 until the FDA warned of its possible contamination with NDMA. This comes on the tails of long investigations into NDMA’s presence in various medications such as blood pressure drug Valsartan.

Currently, NDMA is known to contribute to several types of cancers. Continuous use of a medication like Zantac with high levels of NDMA could lead to harmful medical effects, organ damage, and the growth of tumors. NDMA potentially affects crucial organs like the bladder, brain, kidneys, lungs and stomach according to a report released by the World Health Organization.

When information of NDMA contamination in Zantac and other heartburn medication was made public, the FDA requested that the medications be removed from shelves and that consumers stop taking the medication immediately. Now, as longtime users of the drug are becoming aware of the severe dangers of taking Zantac and other ranitidine-based drugs, lawsuits are being filed claiming that the drug manufacturers knowingly allowed consumers to purchase the drug when it contained a possible carcinogen.

Who Has a Claim?

According to many attorneys who are handling Zantac cases, a person must be able to satisfy three conditions to be able to qualify for a lawsuit.

“Generally, a person needs to prove that they used Zantac for a period of time, that they received a cancer diagnosis, and that there is a connection between the diagnosis and the heartburn medication,” said Attorney Robert Hammers, Jr., from Schneider Hammers. “One of the best ways a person can meet these three criteria is to work with an attorney that understands product liability in medical cases, because many people may be able to file a lawsuit and they don’t know it.”

For a person to possibly pursue a successful Zantac or ranitidine lawsuit, they must be able to prove they used the medication, whether through proof of prescription or through medical records. Those who took over the counter heartburn medications would require a receipt or other evidence that shows they took the drug, like a statement or doctor’s note.

A cancer diagnosis is the main component to a successful Zantac case. A claimant must be able to show they were diagnosed with a type of cancer linked to NDMA. These kinds of cancers may include stomach, intestine, colorectal, bladder, liver, or esophageal cancer.

Finally, the strongest component within a lawsuit is that the cancer a person was diagnosed with is related to the heartburn medication. Generally, the higher medication doses consistently taken can help to prove a connection between cancer and the medication.

How to Approach a Zantac Lawsuit

Currently, there are not any class action lawsuits regarding Zantac – which means a person would pursue their own personal Zantac lawsuit. While a person could approach their case on their own, many find that working with an experienced product liability attorney could improve the chances of a case being successful.

Zantac lawsuits can become complex with finding medical information and prove correlation between a cancer diagnosis and Zantac use, so having a knowledgeable legal advocate on a person’s side could be extremely beneficial.

With as many as 250 active Zantac cases, it appears that this area of law is going to continue to increase as more consumers are made aware of the negative effects of the popular heartburn medication and consumer claims grow stronger as they are backed by strong scientific evidence pointing to the negligence of heartburn drug manufacturers.

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