Recently several Zantac manufacturers settled the first trial for $500,000. In this lawsuit, the plaintiff alleged that he developed esophageal cancer after years of taking the heartburn medication Zantac. Esophageal cancer is one of the five cancers included in the federal multidistrict litigation against Zantac manufacturers. However, now state-level litigation aims to target Zantac manufacturers for other types of cancer not addressed at the federal level.
Zantac MDL Only Covers Five Types of Cancer
Both state and federal Zantac lawsuits claim that manufacturers knew or should have known that the drug contains NDMA, a possible human carcinogen. Research initially pointed to NDMA levels in Zantac only increasing at higher temperatures or over time. However, further studies revealed that NDMA in Zantac may increase even under normal conditions. These discoveries prompted scientists to investigate NDMA in Zantac and its effects on the human body.
Current research suggests that NDMAs in Zantac may cause users to develop certain types of gastrointestinal cancers. The five types of cancers with the strongest evidence at this time are bladder cancer, esophageal cancer, gastric cancer, liver cancer, and pancreatic cancer. In February 2020, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation centralized all federal Zantac lawsuits into MDL-2924 and appointed Judge Robin L. Rosenberg to oversee the litigation. Originally, plaintiff attorneys stated they intended to submit expert testimony that links NDMA in Zantac to ten different types of cancer. However, in January 2022, attorneys decided to only move forward with bladder, esophageal, gastric, liver, and pancreatic cancer claims. This final disclosure meant that the MDL would exclude breast, kidney, colorectal, prostate, and lung cancer lawsuits.
Other Zantac Cancer Claims Addressed in State Litigation
Plaintiffs with cancer claims excluded from the federal MDL are taking action in state courts. One law firm filed more than 10,000 claims on behalf of clients in Delaware, California, Illinois, and Pennsylvania regarding cancers omitted in federal Zantac litigation. Furthermore, another law firm in Delaware recently filed 88 complaints on behalf of 7,291 claimants nationwide for cancers eliminated from and included in the MDL.