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Zantac Cancer Litigation Update

FDA’s Action

In September 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning that ranitidine—a heartburn medication sold under the brand name Zantac—may contain a cancer-causing chemical. The FDA’s announcement sparked a wave of litigation across the United States, as patients who had been taking Zantac for years brought suit against the medication’s manufacturers.

Since then, there have been several key developments in the Zantac litigation, including the consolidation of all federal cases into one multidistrict litigation (MDL) and the issuance of several key rulings by the MDL court. Here’s a brief overview of where things currently stand in the Zantac litigation.

MDL Consolidation

On December 16, 2019, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) consolidated all federally-filed Zantac cases into one MDL in the Southern District of Florida. The MDL is currently presided over by Judge Robin L. Rosenberg.

As of March 2020, there are approximately 200 cases pending in the MDL. The vast majority of these cases were originally filed in state court; however, many plaintiffs have since removed their cases to federal court pursuant to the MDL consolidation order. Several dozen cases are currently pending in state court in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and California; these state court cases have not yet been consolidated into an MDL.

Key Rulings by the MDL Court

The MDL court has issued several key rulings in recent months that have shaped—and will continue to shape—the direction of this litigation.

In January 2020, Judge Rosenberg denied defendants’ motions to dismiss plaintiffs’ claims that they failed to warn consumers about the risk of cancer associated with Zantac use. In her ruling, Judge Rosenberg held that plaintiffs had sufficiently alleged that defendants knew or should have known about the potential cancer risks associated with Zantac but failed to provide adequate warnings to consumers. This ruling clears the way for plaintiffs to proceed with their claims on this issue.

Most recently, in February 2020, Judge Rosenberg denied defendants’ motion to stay discovery pending resolution of a dispute over whether documents produced by British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in connection with similar litigation in England are subject to confidentiality restrictions. In her ruling, Judge Rosenberg held that GSK had not provided sufficient evidence to support its claim that the documents were confidential and ordered GSK to produce them to plaintiffs by March 6, 2020. This ruling gives plaintiffs access to key documents that could potentially shed light on what defendants knew about the cancer risks associated with Zantac and when they knew it.

These are just a few examples of how things are currently proceeding in the Zantac litigation; stay tuned for more updates as this MDL proceeds toward trial.

Get in Touch

As mentioned, the Zantac lawsuits are currently ongoing in state and federal courts across the United States. If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with cancer after taking Zantac, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.