Lawsuit: former Zantac users should receive medical monitoring

A class action lawsuit involving over 230 people was filed against drugmakers who made medications containing ranitidine, the active ingredient in Zantac.

The lawsuit was filed in late July and involves contamination of drugs containing ranitidine with N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), which is classified as a probable carcinogen by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The lawsuit claims that the defendants should pay for cancer monitoring for former Zantac users, saying there can be a latency period between being exposed to the drug and developing or detecting cancer caused by the contamination with NDMA.

Plaintiffs have an inadequate remedy at law in that monetary damages alone cannot compensate them for the risk of long-term physical and economic losses due to ingesting Ranitidine-Containing Products. Without a court-approved medical monitoring program as described herein, or established by the Court, Plaintiffs and the Class members will continue to face an unreasonable risk of injury and disability and remain undiagnosed,” the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit also alleges that some defendants intentionally deceived patients, regulators and the medical community about the cancer risks associated with Zantac.

Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act claims are raised by the lawsuit. These claims are usually reserved for organized crime. The lawsuit alleges that some of the defendants behaved like organized crime organizations.

The unprecedented success of Zantac was not an accident. It was the direct result of aggressive marketing by RICO Defendants and others that pushed Zantac as safe and effective for consumers,” the lawsuit claims. “In their quest to reach ever new heights of sales and profits, RICO Defendants recklessly continued to push Zantac as safe and effective even after they became aware of the NDMA risks associated with ranitidine consumption.”

Ranitidine experiment results were published in 1981 demonstrating “toxic and mutagenic effects” which happened when human gastric fluid, nitrates and ranitidine combined. The results were published by Dr. Silvio de Flora of the University of Genoa, who said these effects may have occurred due to the “formation of more than one nitroso derivative under our experimental conditions.” NDMA is a nitroso derivative.

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) responded to the ranitidine experiment results in The Lancet two weeks after the results were published, showing they knew about the experiment results.

Many studies had demonstrated that ranitidine had a problem with carcinogenic nitroso compounds by 1987.

NDMA has known to be a probable carcinogen since at least 1979, when a news article noted that almost every lab animal tested with NDMA had developed cancer so far.

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Nadrich & Cohen, LLP

Nadrich & Cohen, LLP is a California personal injury law firm with offices in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Modesto, Fresno, Tracy and Palm Desert. The firm has been representing victims of dangerous drugs since 1990 and has recovered over $350,000,000 on behalf of clients in that time.