In any product liability litigation, the injured person must ultimately prove that the injury was caused by the defective product (legal causation). A relatively easy example is when a lamp explodes and burns an individual, and in the post-explosion investigation the plaintiff discovers the lamp’s wiring was faulty and unreasonably dangerous. In the Zantac (ranitidine) multi-district litigation (MDL), thousands of plaintiffs have come forward alleging that use of the heartburn medication caused their various cancers. I discussed how Zantac is alleged to cause cancer in previous posts. You can start here if interested. In a nutshell, however, studies have shown that Zantac may contain potentially dangerous levels of NDMA (N-Nitrosodimethylamine), which is a likely carcinogen in humans.
There are several ways that NDMA is thought to be present in Zantac medication, which you can read about here. The larger point is simple: you do not want to ingest NDMA, and you certainly do not want to ingest large amounts of NDMA, especially for months or years. Remember, millions of people have taken Zantac or the generic ranitidine, some for many years, so the potential consumer-health risk is widespread. Zantac has been recalled.
Because these studies link Zantac to NDMA, plaintiffs who used Zantac and later developed one of several cancers (reasonably) came forward and filed lawsuits against the manufacturers of Zantac. The original Master Complaint listed at least sixteen different cancers, with indications that the list was not exhaustive.
Zantac Plaintiffs Have Filed Expert Reports on Five Cancers
On January 25, 2022, however, the Plaintiffs’ Leadership in the Zantac MDL filed disclosures with the Court indicating that the plaintiffs would provide general causation expert reports focused on five cancers: bladder, esophageal, gastric, liver, and pancreatic. Remember, the plaintiffs must have credible expert opinions on the link between a medication like Zantac and its likelihood of causing certain cancers. At this point it appears the plaintiffs’ experts will be able to make a viable connection between the use of Zantac and the onset of the above five cancers. If you have one of these cancers and you also took Zantac for a period of time prior to your cancer diagnosis, you should call me immediately (919.546.8788) to discuss your legal options.
The next step in the litigation is for both sides to take depositions of all experts providing reports in the litigation, and following that, the Court will hold hearings on the science supporting the expert reports (known as Daubert hearings). If the Court upholds the scientific viability of the plaintiffs’ experts, the cases will move closer to jury trials.
But What if I Have Been Diagnosed with a Different Cancer?
It’s a good question. At this point you will not be able to pursue your claim against the makers of Zantac in the Zantac MDL. Plaintiffs’ lawyers are still investigating the link between Zantac-use and other cancers, as well as looking for other possible venues to bring claims for those who suffered a different cancer than those five listed above. However, it bears repeating that an expert opinion is required for any successful product liability lawsuit.
If you have taken Zantac for a period of time and were subsequently diagnosed with bladder cancer, esophageal cancer, gastric cancer, liver cancer, or pancreatic cancer, it’s possible that your cancer was the result of your taking Zantac. Call me to discuss, and either way, good luck.
Note: The information contained in this post was developed from publicly available information, including court filings and media reports.