Zantac Lawsuit Status And Related Settlements (2024)

Sarah Edwards


Reviewed By Adam Ramirez, J.D.


Read in 4 mins


  • Tens of thousands have filed a Zantac lawsuit alleging cancer
  • Injured plaintiffs have experienced both victories and losses
  • Zantac manufacturers have started settling lawsuits

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Basis of the Zantac Lawsuit

Heartburn happens when excess acid in the stomach flows backward up the esophagus. The esophagus lacks the protective layers of the stomach. As a result, the acid can eat into the tissues, causing chest pain and a bitter or acidic taste.

In the past, heartburn treatment involved swallowing an alkaline substance to neutralize the acid. Without getting deep into the chemistry, combining an acid and a base produces water and salt. More importantly, the resulting solution has a neutral rather than acidic pH. When neutralized, the burning sensation and sour or acidic taste disappear.

Zantac is a highly effective heartburn medication, but it functions differently than previous treatments. Rather than neutralizing the stomach acid, Zantac blocks the histamines that trigger acid production. The drug belongs to a class of chemicals called H2 blockers. Heartburn medications like Tagamet, Pepcid AC and Axid also use H2 blockers as their active ingredients.

The manufacturers of Zantac are facing product liability lawsuits for allegedly failing to warn consumers of the drug’s cancer risks. Specifically, ranitidine, the H2 blocker used in Zantac, can break down and form N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA). This risk was so high that the FDA determined Zantac to be a dangerous drug and ordered it off the market.

NDMA is a known carcinogen. In laboratory studies, even small amounts can cause laboratory animals to develop liver, lung and kidney cancer. The plaintiffs alleged that the following four manufacturers failed to warn users that ranitidine degrades into NDMA:

  • GlaxoSmithKline
  • Pfizer
  • Sanofi
  • Boehringer Ingelheim

This degradation is particularly likely to occur in the hot and humid conditions present in the stomach.

As a result of this failure, the plaintiffs used the products, often for decades, and developed terminal cancer. Some cancers associated with Zantac include:

  • Stomach
  • Liver
  • Pancreatic
  • Esophageal
  • Pharyngeal

Some plaintiffs have also alleged bladder, colorectal and breast cancer from Zantac use, but these cases appear less frequently.

Procedural Posture of the Zantac Cancer Lawsuit

Plaintiffs allegedly injured by Zantac have filed product liability lawsuits in federal and state courts. Before getting into the procedural posture of these cases, you should understand the differences in the types of claims filed.

Individual lawsuits only involve the injured plaintiff and the manufacturer of the drug they used. The advantage of individual lawsuits is that the plaintiff retains all the damages awarded in the case. The disadvantage is the plaintiff and their lawyer must do all the work and bear all the costs of fighting a billion-dollar drug company.

Class action lawsuits involve multiple plaintiffs in the same case. The class of plaintiffs is represented by class representatives who have claims and losses that are common to all the members. Class action plaintiffs benefit because the costs are shared across the entire class. The drawback is that the class also shares the settlement or damage award, often resulting in smaller recoveries.

One additional procedure to understand is multidistrict litigation (MDL). Federal courts use it to group similar litigations. The cases remain separate, but the plaintiffs and their lawyers can cooperate while conducting discovery and filing motions. This cooperation can reduce costs and increase efficiency.

One set of federal cases was consolidated in a Florida MDL. The judge dismissed these cases after finding the plaintiffs’ expert witnesses did not use reliable science to support their allegations. Another set of federal cases was allowed to proceed in a Delaware MDL. These used different experts who passed muster with a different judge.

The manufacturers are facing tens of thousands of lawsuits in Delaware, in addition to class actions in California and other states. In response, these companies have started exploring settlements.

GlaxoSmithKline settled a lawsuit on confidential terms and may try to negotiate a global settlement now that the lawsuits can proceed in Delaware. Other manufacturers, including Sanofi and Pfizer, have already settled some of the lawsuits against them.

Do I Qualify for

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How to Qualify for Zantac Lawsuit Settlements

Filing an individual Zantac suit is not difficult, but your situation must fit a particular set of facts. You need to have taken Zantac and developed cancer afterward. At this early stage, lawyers will likely accept all cancer types for a Zantac lawsuit. Breast cancer or other cancers outside of the digestive tract might still qualify since NDMA is such a powerful carcinogen.

The qualifications might be more strict to join a Zantac class action lawsuit. Class action rules require that all plaintiffs be “similarly situated.” A judge could limit the class to a particular set of cancers.

ConsumerShield Can Help Zantac Consumers

The Zantac lawsuits have entered a critical phase, with manufacturers considering settlements. ConsumerShield can help you understand your legal rights and connect you with a lawyer to represent you against these massive drug companies. Contact us for a free consultation to learn more.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Yes, several lawsuits against the manufacturers of Zantac remain ongoing. One federal multidistrict litigation in Delaware just passed an important milestone when the judge allowed testimony by the plaintiff’s expert witnesses. Manufacturers also face several state class action lawsuits.

  • Zantac’s manufacturers have not entered into a global settlement to resolve all the outstanding injury claims. Thus, there is no way to predict which cancers will qualify for a settlement. Lawyers are also still alleging diverse injuries. However, settlement discussions seem to focus on bladder, stomach, esophageal, liver and pancreatic cancers.

  • You will need evidence of several facts, including the following:

    • You took Zantac regularly.
    • You developed cancer within a reasonable time after taking it.
    • Your finances or quality of life suffered as a result of your cancer.

    Your lawyer will advise you about the documents you need to prove each of these elements.

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