Zantac Lawsuits Tie Colorectal Cancer Diagnosis to Recalled Heartburn Drug

Two similar complaints have been filed against the makers of Zantac and its generic equivalents in recent weeks, involving nearly identical allegations that side effects of Zantac caused plaintiffs to develop colorectal cancer following exposure to the ingredient ranitidine. Zantac is one of the newest drugs in which the cancer-causing chemical NDMA has been detected and consumers who have taken Zantac or its generic equivalent for years to relieve heartburn, acid reflux and other conditions are holding the drug makers responsible for their cancer diagnoses. If you have been diagnosed with colorectal cancer or another type of cancer, and you believe Zantac to be the cause, contact an experienced Zantac cancer attorney as soon as possible to explore your possible compensation options.

Zantac for Heartburn, Acid Reflux

Zantac (ranitidine) was introduced in the United States nearly 30 years ago as a treatment for heartburn and acid reflux and it quickly became the world’s best-selling drug and one of the first-ever drugs to top $1 billion in annual sales. For years, the makers of Zantac aggressively marketed the medication as a safe and effective treatment for conditions associated with too much acid in the stomach, such as acid reflux, ulcers and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and the drug was used by millions of Americans for years, before nearly every version of Zantac and ranitidine was removed from the market last September. The unexpected, widespread Zantac recall was issued after it was discovered that “some ranitidine medicines, including some products commonly known as the brand-name drug Zantac, contain a nitrosamine impurity called N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) […].”

Link Between Zantac and NDMA

NDMA is a known environmental contaminant and the chemical is classified as a probable human carcinogen, meaning it can cause cancer in humans. In addition to ranitidine, NDMA and other nitrosamine impurities have been detected in several other commonly used medications recently. At the time of the Zantac recall, the FDA had been investigating NDMA contamination in popular blood pressure and heart failure medications called angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs), including valsartan, losartan and irbesartan. In the case of the ARB medications, the FDA recommended a number of recalls as the agency discovered unacceptable levels of NDMA and other nitrosamine impurities, which have been linked to a variety of cancers. According to the World Health Organization, exposure to NDMA is associated with the development of gastric and colorectal cancer.

Based on growing evidence that ranitidine-based medications may contain traces of the cancer-causing chemical NDMA, consumers nationwide who have been diagnosed with cancer after using Zantac for years to relieve heartburn or acid reflux are pursuing legal claims against the makers of recalled Zantac and ranitidine medications in courts across the country. These two latest lawsuits were both filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, the first by Wayne Uffelman on February 19, and the second by Sheila Coffey on February 21. According to Uffelman’s complaint, he was diagnosed with colorectal cancer in June 2001, after using Zantac for more than 15 years. Coffey alleges in her claim that she was diagnosed with colorectal cancer in October 2019, after 18 years of taking Zantac or its generic equivalents.

Zantac Lawsuits Accuse Drug Makers of Failure to Warn

These two new cases join dozens of other Zantac cancer lawsuits filed on behalf of consumers who were diagnosed with colorectal cancer or other cancers following years of exposure to Zantac or ranitidine. Plaintiffs in the ongoing Zantac litigation are pursuing financial compensation from various manufacturers, including Sanofi-Aventis, GlaxoSmithKline, Boehringer Ingelheim and Chatten, Inc, for allegedly failing to warn consumers about the potential for Zantac to cause cancer, despite evidence demonstrating a cancer risk. According to allegations raised in Coffey’s claim, “During the time that Defendants manufactured and sold Zantac in the United States, the weight of scientific evidence showed that Zantac exposed users to unsafe levels of NDMA. Defendants failed to disclose this risk to consumers on the drug’s label—or through any other means—and Defendants failed to report these risks to the FDA.”