GlaxoSmithKline has recently reached a settlement agreement in California state court with four plaintiffs who had filed lawsuits related to Zantac, a heartburn drug that was recalled in 2019 due to its association with cancer.
The lawsuits alleged that the use of Zantac, which contained the unstable active pharmaceutical ingredient ranitidine, resulted in the development of cancer, particularly due to the presence of the carcinogenic chemical byproduct N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA).
Over the past four years, various companies, including GlaxoSmithKline, Boehringer Ingelheim, Pfizer, Sanofi, and others involved in the sale of both brand name and generic ranitidine pills, have faced legal actions from individuals who claim to have been diagnosed with cancer and other injuries linked to NDMA exposure.
Initially, most of the litigation was consolidated in the federal court system, with all Zantac cancer lawsuits centralized in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida for coordinated discovery and pretrial proceedings. However, a controversial ruling issued by the judge last year excluded all plaintiffs' expert witnesses from testifying at trial, making it challenging for federal plaintiffs to prove that Zantac caused their cancer. This led to the dismissal of all Zantac lawsuits pending in the federal court system.
It is important to note that this federal ruling does not affect Zantac lawsuits filed in California and other state courts, where different standards for the admissibility of expert witness testimony are applied. Therefore, cases in state courts continue to address the allegations brought forth by Zantac users who claim that the drug led to their cancer diagnoses.