Zantac Lawsuit Attorneys - Settlement Value and Update

Zantac lawsuits allege Zantac causes cancer. Our law firm is currently reviewing Zantac cancer lawsuits brought by former ranitidine users diagnosed with cancer. 

Our lawyers offer free consultations. There is no fee or cost unless you receive money in a settlement.

Zantac Truck InfographicThe ranitidine suits are moving forward quickly. Plaintiffs' lawyers speculate that a Zantac class action lawsuit settlement amount could be worth more than $10 billion. Our attorneys are vigorously investigating lawsuits for victims like you.

This page talks about what our attorneys expect in this heartburn medication litigation. We speculate Zantac settlement compensation payouts, who will qualify for compensation, and when settlements may occur. This page last received a status update on September 8, 2021. Bookmark and visit this page again for the latest Zantac lawsuit updates.

[August 31, 2021 Update: Certainly the biggest news in the Zantac lawsuits is that the MDL judge dismissed all of the claims against the generic or store brand versions of Zantac. Truth be told, most Zantac lawyers saw this ruling coming. The judge dismissed these claims because she believes they are preempted by federal law. This is a brutal blow for users of generic ranitidine who are now being told that even if the drug caused their cancer, they do not have a claim. That is a tragedy. 

The silver lining, if you can call it that, is that this ruling, assuming it holds up on appeal, streamlines the Zantac litigation considerably.  Plaintiffs' attorneys can file an appeal while now having more time to drill down on Glaxo, Sanofi, Boehringer Ingelheim, and Pfizer and prepare the scientific case to get these cases to a jury.]

About Zantac and Cancer

Zantac (ranitidine) belongs to a family of drugs called histamine-2 or H2 blockers. Ranitidine and other H2 blockers decrease the amount of acid produced in the stomach. H2 blockers are called "antacids" and the OTC versions are commonly used to treat and prevent heartburn (gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD). Prescription-strength Zantac is used for the treatment of very severe heartburn and more serious conditions such as stomach/intestinal ulcers.

Zantac was a very popular antacid drug since the 1980s. It was the 50th most prescribed drug with 15 million prescriptions a year. Millions more purchased the drug and its generic equivalent over-the-counter. This drug was originally developed by the European pharmaceutical company Glaxo (n/k/a GlaxoSmithKline). It was approved as a prescription drug in the United States in 1983. Glaxo invested millions aggressively promoting the drug to doctors and the general public.

Zantac became one of the best-selling drugs in pharmaceutical history. It was the first medication to reach $1 billion in annual U.S. sales. Drugmakers made a fortune.

One of the keys to the marketing strategy was the emphasis that the drug was worked well - which it did - and that it was safe and harmless. But, as anyone reading this likely knows, lab testing of ranitidine (the active ingredient in Zantac) found high levels of a chemical called NDMA. This contaminant is known to cause cancer.

In September 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a public safety warning about possible cancer risks from Zantac. In the wake of the FDA safety warning, there has been a Zantac recall and ranitidine has been abruptly pulled from shelves across the country.

The total number of filed MDL Zantac cancer lawsuits as of August 13, 2021, is 716. But over 70,000 census forms have been filled out at last count and that number is likely higher now. (This is the result of a tolling agreement that pushes back the statute of limitations if you properly register your claim.)

Discovery of NDMA in Zantac

N-Nitrosodimethylamine ("NDMA") is an unstable organic chemical that is usually is created unintentionally as a byproduct of certain industrial processes. NDMA is very toxic to the human body (especially the liver) and it has been recognized as a human carcinogen since the 1970s. Dimethylhydrazine, the "D" in NDMA, is a component of rocket fuel.

Rocket fuel is about as healthy as you think it is. The evidence that NDMA causes cancer is overwhelming. No ranitidine lawsuit defendant will dispute that this contaminant is a carcinogen. NDMA has repeatedly caused cancer in every animal lab test in the last 40 years.

NDMA is listed as a probable human carcinogen by the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and various other organizations. The CDC points out the risks of NDMA even at low doses. Calling this contaminant a "probable carcinogen" is dramatically understating the case.

Over the years, the presence of NDMA in consumer products has prompted massive safety recalls, both voluntary and at the direction of the FDA. The most recent round of NDMA contamination recalls impacted the popular blood pressure drug, Valsartan.

In the summer of 2018, several Chinese manufacturers of generic Valsartan discovered that their drug compounds were contaminated with unsafe levels of NDMA. This led to a massive recall.

The discovery of NDMA in generic Valsartan in 2018 caught the attention of Valisure, a pharmaceutical lab. In the spring of 2019, Valisure performed independent testing of antacid drugs because of NDMA concerns. The results of this testing came as a shock to many. But it should not have. Ranitidine was suspected back in the 1980s of reacting with nitrite in the stomach to make NDMA.

The Valisure testing found that ranitidine contained levels of NMDA that were off the charts. According to the FDA, the maximum safe level of daily NDMA exposure is 96 nanograms (ng). The Valisure testing found that one OTC Zantac tablet contained 2,511,469 ng of NDMA. This equated to roughly 26,000 times the maximum daily limit of NDMA! That is incredible, right? 

Valisure immediately reported its testing results to the FDA in July 2019 in a Citizen Petition. The petition said that the formation of NDMA is likely a chemical reaction caused by the inherent instability of the ranitidine molecule.

In September 2019, the FDA announced that it had conducted tests on ranitidine. The FDA's laboratory tests also found NDMA in ranitidine medications. But the FDA found much lower levels than the Valisure tests. (The FDA tests were flawed. They did not use sodium nitrate which we think everyone will ultimately agree is critical if you want reliable results.) Even the "low levels" of NDMA found in the FDA testing were considered "unacceptable" and led to a public safety warning.

The FDA safety warning prompted an immediate reaction from retailers and manufacturers. CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, Walmart, and other major stores (who are now defendants) have all suspended Zantac.

Generic manufacturers voluntarily recalled their products after the FDA warning. The FDA, leading from behind as they often do, finally ordered a Zantac voluntary recall.

New Zantac Studies in 2020 and 2021

In December 2020, another study came out to give us a clear picture of what happened with Zantac and NDMA. The study linked increasing NDMA levels to the degradation of hydrochloride molecules in Zantac. It also lends new credence to the theory that heat that is created when ingesting the drug might contribute to the process that increases the NDMA levels.

(This is no surprise. The over-the-counter box for Zantac states “avoid excessive heat” and to store the drug below 77°F. Was the drug transported using temperature-controlled heating systems? Typically, no.)

Two articles, both published on January 29, 2021, detailed Valisure researchers’ findings on Zantac. One of them, published in JAMA, reported on a simulation of Zantac’s reactions with gastric fluids. The other, published in MedRxiv, also found that certain conditions facilitated Zantac’s transformation into NDMA.

NDMA Concentration Study

In the JAMA article, researchers found that Zantac converted into high NDMA concentrations. They combined simulated gastric fluid (SGF) with Zantac. After two hours, a 150 mg Zantac tablet converted into 947 nanograms. This was almost 10 times the FDA’s acceptable daily consumption limit for NDMA. The researchers also found that increased nitrate concentrations caused the same tablet to convert into 320,000 ng.

Bladder, Colorectal, Prostate and Breast Cancer

The MedRxiv article reported on a cross-section analysis of cancer patients. Valisure researchers compiled data comprising over 10,000 of them. They narrowed it down to patients who used Zantac. The researchers found a positive association between Zantac use and bladder, breast, colorectal, and prostate cancers.

What other kinds of cancer does Zantac cause? Our Zantac lawyers believe that more types of cancer are also implicated.

For those types of cancer that cannot be linked to ranitidine, you can expect the defense lawyers to file what are called Daubert motions to keep those cases out of the courtroom. Hopefully, the science will deliver what plaintiffs' lawyers need to know before those motions are heard.

New Bladder Cancer Zantac Study

An April 2021 American Journal of Gastroenterology-published study found that Zantac patients were more likely to develop bladder cancer compared to non-Zantac patients. Researchers gathered data from Scotland’s Primary Care Clinical Informatics Unit Research database.

They identified over 3,000 bladder cancer cases between 1999 and 2011. The researchers matched each case with no more than five controls. They accounted for age, gender, GP practice, and diagnosis date. The researchers identified Zantac, other H2 blockers, and proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) in the prescription records.

The researchers reported that short-term Zantac use increased the bladder cancer risk by 22 percent. Taking the drug for at least three years increased this risk to 43 percent compared to non-users. The researchers found that proton pump inhibitor use, even long-term use, was not associated with bladder cancer. The researchers concluded that Zantac use, especially long-term use, increased the bladder cancer risk.

What These Zantac Studies Cumulatively Show

Bigger picture, the latest studies demonstrates that the medical litigation on the association between ranitidine and Zantac continues to support plaintiffs' attorneys' theories of liability in the Zantac litigation.

Ultimately, even before the recall, there was information out there to warn of the ranitidine risk and allow patients to pursue ranitidine alternatives. (Some of those drugs, like Prilosec and Nexium, are not without risks, unfortunately, and have also drawn litigation interest.)

Zantac lawsuit settlements. Cancer litigation timeline and settlement compensation payout information.
How Much Settlement Compensation Will Zantac Victim See?

The Zantac litigation will most likely be resolved with a global settlement of all cases. The Zantac lawsuit payouts will almost certainly be ranked into settlement tiers based on the severity of the plaintiff’s injuries and the strength of the claim. Cases in the top tier could be worth more than $500,000.

Second-tier cases may be in the $250,000 range. The lowest tier cases will likely be worth $100,000 or less.

This speculation, and it is pure speculation, is based on previous mass tort cases with similar injuries. Our settlement prediction also assumes, as our lawyers believe, that this litigation will be very successful.

When Will Zantac Lawsuits Settle?

Victims want to know when the Zantac suits will settle. A global settlement in the Zantac litigation will probably not happen soon. Big mass tort cases involving thousands of plaintiffs always take time to settle. 

Right now the litigation is in the middle of the consolidated discovery phase, with hundreds of new plaintiffs every week. The good news is Zantac is off-the-market. This helps facilitate a more speedy settlement.

What is the key to global Zantac settlement? Getting these NDMA cancer cases to trial. Plaintiffs' lawyers just took a big step towards that by filing a motion to remove some Zantac lawsuits to state court because the plaintiffs' lawyers also sued California defendants, which usually defeats federal court jurisdiction.

Having these cases in California state court would give Zantac lawyers another opportunity, and perhaps a better chance, to get a court to give us a trial date. (This was the path plaintiffs' attorneys followed in the Roundup litigation, to great success.) The sooner we get trial dates, the greater the likelihood of getting to a global Zantac settlement.

Do You Qualify For A Zantac Lawsuit?

Our law firm is accepting new Zantac cases for anyone who meets the following basic criteria:

  • You took Zantac (or another ranitidine product) on a daily or regular basis for at least 6 months.
  • After taking Zantac you were diagnosed with any of the following cancers: liver, stomach, bladder, breast, intestinal, colorectal, or esophageal.

If you meet these criteria, our lawyers believe you qualify for a Zantac lawsuit and we want to hear from you as soon as possible.

What Is the Risk of NDMA in Zantac?

People taking Zantac might have unknowingly been ingesting incredibly high levels of NDMA into their system daily. Even the lower levels of NDMA found in the FDA testing are alarming high, and much more than the accepted safe daily limits for NDMA. Given the known potential of NDMA to cause cancer in lab animals, Zantac users may be at significantly increased risk of various types of cancers.

NDMA ingestion from the use of Zantac can cause all types of cancer. There are some cancers scientists are more sure certain are linked to NDMA. These include liver cancer, breast, stomach, pancreatic, colorectal, intestinal, and some other cancers we discuss above. Are many more types of cancer involved? Probably. We just do not know yet.

  • Frequently asked questions about the Zantac MDL lawsuits
  • Another new cancer cause drug, Belviq, and CPAP which is a medical device for sleep apnea
Is There a New Zantac Class Action MDL?

Most legal experts are predicting a mass wave of Zantac lawsuits getting filed over the next few years. There are now 576 cancer cases that have been filed in federal court as of March 2021. The real number of Zantac lawsuits is over 1,000.

Our Zantac lawsuit attorneys believe that these claims are the tip of a gigantic mass-tort iceberg. Zantac and its generic equivalents were widely used. Literally millions of people in the U.S. used over-the-counter ranitidine medicines regularly for heartburn. This means that the size of potential claimants could be larger than any other defective drug cases.

As a result, a group of plaintiffs' lawyers filed a motion to consolidate all the pending Zantac lawsuits in federal court to a single federal court. As the motion pointed out, the Zantac case claims will "almost certainly dwarf the Valsartan litigation" (another NDMA MDL) because of the "ubiquity of Zantac and because the NDMA in Zantac is not an impurity that only recently made its way into the drug through shoddy manufacturing but is instead inherent to the drug’s molecular structure." This motion was granted in February 2020 and MDL No. 2924 was formed.

What does this mean practically for your Zantac cancer lawsuit? It means individual suits like yours in federal court are now consolidated in Florida under Judge Robin L. Rosenberg for coordinated or consolidated pretrial proceedings.

So if you are a resident of California, New York, Illinois, or any other state, you still directly file your Zantac lawsuit in MDL in Florida. So instead of looking for a "Zantac lawsuit attorney near me", you are better served trying to find the best Zantac lawyer for you.

What Can We Expect from Judge Rosenberg?

We do not know. This is the first MDL for Judge Rosenberg, who was appointed to the bench by President Obama in 2014.

The good news is this MDL class action for pretrial discovery gives the plaintiffs' lawyers a chance to pool our efforts to learn more about what Sanofi and Boehringer knew about NDMAs in Zantac products and how that impacted your cancer risk.

The MDL is moving forward well, with a few hiccups. Certainly, COVID-19 has not helped. But the court has continued to fashion orders to deal with discovery and litigation in a pandemic. Hopefully, these cases will be ready to begin test trials in 2022.

What Will Zantac Victims Have to Do MDL?

Not much. You would have to fill out a comprehensive information sheet setting out your medical history. From there, for most victims, you pretty much just wait and hope to get a settlement offer.

A short form complaint is also very easy. So instead of filling out a long legal complaint, you simply incorporate the master complaint filed in the MDL and allege

  • the defendants (which your lawyers will do for you)
  • where you would have filed the lawsuit if there was not an MDL
  • whether you used the prescription drug or over-the-counter
  • the type of cancer you have/had
  • the claims you are filing (by checking off boxes)

In August 2021, the Zantac MDL class action is plodding along. Discovery is ongoing and the court had a discovery status conference as recently as July 1, 2021. Besides Covid, the reason the Zantac MDL is moving slowly is the litigation is a logistical mess. There are so many issues with distributor defendants, generic manufacturers, discovery disputes, etc. There are a lot of moving parts. It looks like the trials are going to start in probably late summer or the fall of 2022 with the all-important Daubert hearing in July 2022.

More than the outcome of the bellwether trials in the MDL, the Daubert motion on general causation will be the key in determining the settlement amounts in the Zantac cancer lawsuits.

Why? The defendants dispute that the sky is blue in the Zantac litigation. But there are things we know we know. We know that Zantac had NDMA. We know that NDMA causes a host of health complications including cancer. The real battlefield in these cases is whether NDMA was a substantial contributing cause to the victim's cancer. 

Scientists know that NDMA is more likely to cause some cancers than others. So the question will be whether the judge believes the science is clear enough to allow the lawsuits to proceed to a jury on a specific type of cancer. 

What Do Plaintiffs' Lawyers Really Think About the Settlement Value of Zantac Lawsuits?

We talk above generally about the expected settlement amounts in the Zantac lawsuits. This is another way of asking the question. What are Zantac lawsuit lawyers really thinking?

Our lawyers frequently talk to other lawyers about what they think about what the expected settlement compensation payouts might be in the Zantac lawsuits. There are some mass torts out there where plaintiffs' attorneys almost universally believe are slam dunk cases that will have a very high settlement value.

So what about Zantac? There is no consensus among Zantac lawyers on what the settlement amounts might be in these cases. Some attorneys are very high on these cases. Our law firm has high expectations for the verdicts and settlement in the Zantac MDL.

Other lawyers who handle Zantac cases are less impressed with what they think the settlement amounts will be in these cases. (One reason why there are so many Zantac lawsuits is that the tolling agreement and short-form complaint make these cases easy to file. So lawyers who are not gung ho on the viability of these lawsuits are still bringing suits because the effort required to file a claim is so small.)

So the take-home message is that there are a wide range of opinions on how successful the Zantac MDL litigation will ultimately be. That may not be the answer you want to here but our attorneys think it is important that you understand that different people have different views on what the compensation payouts will be when all is said and done.

Preemption Defense for Zantac

Drug companies fight back hard when their drugs are under attack, particularly when they are as profitable as things like Zantac. You can expect the drug manufacturers, particularly the generic manufacturers, to argue that there is preemption of any lawsuits because generic drugs have been held by the Supreme Court to be preempted in many cases. Why? The reason is that generic drugs must have a warning that is identical to their brand-name counterpart.

We don't think preemption will be a valid defense in the Zantac cases. Federal preemption is only a valid legal defense when the victims are claiming that the drug was defectively designed.

But the Zantac cases are significantly different because they will not involve typical design defect allegations. Rather the primary theory in these cases will be defective manufacture of the drug as opposed to the typical duty to warn theory that lawyers usually pursue in these types of lawsuits.

Discovery against generic manufacturers and retail distributors in this litigation is ongoing. The latter, which includes all of the big names such as Amazon, Walmart, Walgreens, etc, filed a motion to dismiss in May 2021.

These defendants argue that the only course of action that the retailers and pharmacies could have taken would have been to stop selling ranitidine and such a claim would be preempted by federal law because the drug was approved by the FDA.

(One counterargument is these defendants exposed ranitidine to excessive levels of heat and humidity in violation of the product's instructions on the label.) The court has not yet ruled on that motion. Our lawyers will update you when there is a court ruling.

Who Will Be in This Zantac Class Action?

Prospective Zantac plaintiffs will include anyone who regularly used Zantac and was diagnosed with cancer. The highest individual payouts in these cases will be those diagnosed with specific types of cancer that are closely linked to NDMA and the gastrointestinal system which the drug impacts. These include

  • Liver *
  • Stomach
  • Bladder
  • Intestinal
  • Colorectal
  • Esophageal
  • Breast
  • Gastric
  • Prostate
  • Lung
  • Pancreatic
  • Thyroid

Except for thyroid cancer, these are the cancers listed on the latest version (version 2) of the short-form complaint in the MDL. Our attorneys believe the cancers in bold have the strongest science in their corner. But all of these cancers are likely caused by excessive NDMA.

There is a spate of research now on NDMA and the type of cancers Zantac can cause. The Sloane Memorial Cancer Center in particular is expected to come out with research that will narrow down the cancers we are at greatest risk for with NDMA exposure.

Zantac Settlement Value

If you are thinking of joining these lawsuits, you naturally want to know what settlement amount speculation of these cases might be and the possible range of individual payouts.

Our attorneys gave you some thoughts on what we think could be the potential per person Zantac payouts above. Let's reiterate: we have no real idea. Pre-trial discovery is ongoing. But we can look at other class action lawsuits and speculate and the possible financial compensation victims will receive in these cases if they are successful.

The most natural starting point is the Roundup lawsuits. This is a good comparable because the injury is cancer and liability is similarly hotly contested with good lawyers on both sides.

The defendants will trot our expert witnesses to say ranitidine is not harmful, just like experts testified passionately defending Roundup. But the other similarly our lawyer expect is a settlement that pays out over $10 billion in compensation.

The Roundup cases have an average payout over $100,000. If the ranitidine cases go well, an average settlement could be higher. Why might the Zantac cases be worth more? Bayer is still, albeit inexplicably, defending and selling Roundup. Zantac has been pulled off the market.

You might be asking why so little for a cancer wrongful death case. It is a good question. The settlement value of any mass tort cases is always likely to be less than the trial value of the case. The trial value of successful Zantac cases is going to be many millions of dollars.

The Roundup claims are again a good case in point. The verdicts in those cases have all been in the millions. One was $1 billion. But for cases that settle without going to trial, you can expect a lesser amount.

When will the Zantac lawsuits finally settle? Our lawyers' best guess is that it will be in 2022. Based on the court's most recent order on June 18th, it is hard to imagine a global Zantac settlement in 2021. As our lawyers talk about above, you can imagine a Zantac settlement without any trials but it is hard to imagine settlements without a ruling from the court on which cancers (if any) are specifically caused by NDMA from Zantac.

Claim Census Ordered in Zantac MDL

The federal judge handling the Zantac MDL cases has ordered a 2-part census of all filed and unfiled Zantac cancer claims. There are already thousands of individual plaintiff claims in the Zantac MDL and thousands of additional claims are expected. The Zantac cases have been consolidated into an MDL and assigned to Judge Robin Rosenberg in the Southern District of Florida.

In April 2020, Judge Rosenberg issued an order that will require a 2 tiered census of all the Zantac claims. (He issued a follow-up order on the census in September 2020.)The initial part of the claim census is designed to give the court an accurate picture of the status of how many individual cases are in the MDL. This information will be used to help Judge Rosenberg select lawyers with the most clients to serve on the plaintiff leadership committee in the MDL.

The second part of the claim census will require attorneys to submit information on all individual plaintiff claims that are being investigated but have not yet been filed. The second census form will also require plaintiffs with filed cases to provide additional detailed information about their alleged Zantac usage and their physical injuries. This information will be used to help create a broad picture of the scope of alleged usage and injuries. This will eventually form the basis for grouping these individual cases into tiers for purposes of settlement.

Beyond this paperwork, plaintiffs in this litigation simply have to wait and see how these cases play out. They have few, if any, other obligations.

Contact Miller & Zois About Zantac Cancer Lawsuits

Our law firm is currently evaluating new Zantac cancer cases. If you used Zantac and were diagnosed with cancer and seek representation, we can give you private and free legal advice and explain your options for seeking compensation for you. Contact our class action lawyers at 800-553-8082 or fill out this contact form online for a free case evaluation.

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