Department of Justice Investigates Two Zantac Manufacturers Over Cancer Link
The discovery of a link between the antacid Zantac and cancer was a shock to millions of Americans who took the drug for heartburn. As a result of this dangerous effect, the Department of Justice started investigating two Zantac manufacturers.
Through this investigation, the DOJ wants to determine whether the drug manufacturers violated federal law while selling Zantac. The investigation aims to determine whether the manufacturers learned about a contaminant in Zantac and whether they concealed the cancer risk associated with the heartburn relief product.
The DOJ is questioning Zantac manufacturers GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Sanofi over possible violations of the False Claims Act (FCA). The False Claims Act makes it illegal for manufacturers to provide substandard goods and services to the U.S. government and applies to any products sold to the U.S. government including prescription drugs and medical devices.
This drug potential violates the FCA due to the high levels of the contaminant N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) that the FDA found in the pills. NDMA levels in some ranitidine products increase over time, posing a cancer risk to consumers, studies suggest.
Ranitidine is a histamine blocker. The pill works to lower the acid created in the stomach. The medication was often prescribed to prevent ulcers of the stomach and intestines as well as gastroesophageal reflux disease, the FDA stated.
The latest official action to be taken against this drug is the FDA calling for Zantac to be removed from the shelves. Additionally, the FDA requested a manufacturer’s market withdrawn of ranitidine, meaning the product is not available for new or existing prescriptions of over-the-counter antacids. The FDA said consumers should stop taking any ranitidine products from the U.S. market. People taking this drug should consult a healthcare professional about alternatives. Multiple drugs are approved for the same or similar uses.
Who is Pursuing a Dangerous Drugs Zantac Claim?
NDMA is a well-known carcinogen. Scientists conducted studies on animals that linked NDMA to cancers including diseases of the rectum, colon, stomach, and liver cancer. Many of the litigants suing the makers of Zantac claim the drug caused esophageal cancer.
The litigants include a woman from Virginia who filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. She claimed that after taking the drug for several years, she suffered serious injuries. Deborah Haskins named Sanofi, as defendant, as well as former manufacturers, GlaxoSmithKline and Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals.
Haskins from Ridgeway, Virginia started using Zantac to treat her heartburn 15 years ago. She has been diagnosed with esophageal cancer. Haskins’ lawsuit claims ranitidine, the active ingredient in the heartburn drug, formed unsafe levels of the NDMA in her body.
The complaint accused the manufacturers of one of the most “sinister and gravest public-health frauds in modern times” It stated every manufacturer of prescription and over-the-counter Zantac has “aggressively pushed a poisonous pill into the stream of commerce,” since Zantac’s was launched in 1983.
Many major retailers pulled Zantac from their shelves last year. The pharmacy chains Rite Aid, Walgreens, and CVS moved to stop selling the heartburn medicine Zantac in 2019 after the FDA warned of the possible presence of carcinogenic materials in the pills.
How Many Lawsuits Have Been Filed over Zantac?
More than 140 cancer case lawsuits have been filed in federal court as of the spring of 2020. The lawsuit is expected to quickly grow to thousands of cases. Millions of people took Zantac for years to treat a range of symptoms from acid reflux to more serious conditions.
It is important to contact an experienced Virginia dangerous drugs lawyer if you believe your cancer or the condition of a family member was caused by Zantac.
Most of the actions have been brought by individuals but a Zantac-related lawsuit has also been brought by the New Mexico Attorney General. It alleges violations of the state’s unfair practices act, public nuisance, false advertising, and negligence. Please call us today for help and information about how to join a lawsuit against the manufacturers of Zantac.