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First Zantac trial scheduled

News

On October 10, 2022, the first Zantac trial will take place in California state court, according to KTVN 2 News. The news outlet further reports this case is the first of thousands to have a scheduled court date, although other cases in different jurisdictions could go to trial earlier than October of next year. 

The Zantac lawsuits comprise plaintiffs who allege that the popular heartburn medicine causes certain types of cancers. 

Ranitidine product cases JCCP 5150

Originally, dozens of complainants filed their Zantac lawsuits in California state courts. The cases were transferred to a federal multidistrict litigation (MDL), however, in response to motions filed by defendants named in the lawsuits. Today, the MDL has registered more than 70,000 Zantac cases, which will be overseen by United States District Judge Robin Rosenberg for the Southern District of Florida (MDL No. 2924, 20-MD-2924).

Zantac JCCP plaintiffs’ liaisons are working to move many of these cases back to the California state court, which will handle all the “Ranitidine Product Cases” Judicial Council Coordinated Proceedings (JCCP) 5150. Superior Court Judge Evelio M. Grillo for the County of Alameda oversees these cases. 

Plaintiffs eligible to file in the California JCCP include those with certain types of cancer:

  • Breast cancer
  • Bladder cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Throat/Esophageal cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Thyroid cancer
  • Stomach cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer

How the Zantac JCCP trials will proceed

The plaintiffs’ side of the JCCP will select which case will be the first to go to trial. The defendant’s side will pick the second case to go to trial, which is slated for February 6, 2023. A third and fourth trial are scheduled for May 1, 2023, and August 7, 2023, respectively, according to KTVN 2 News.  

These first trials are known as bellwether trials. They serve to help both sides of the case determine the shape of the cases as a whole and how they might play out with juries. 

The basis of Zantac lawsuit plaintiffs’ claims

Plaintiffs in the Zantac lawsuits claim that the heartburn medicine can be contaminated with the carcinogen N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA). The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced in September 2019 the discovery of NDMA in ranitidine (Zantac). 

In 2019, plaintiffs emerged in the first lawsuit against drugmakers Sanofi and Boerhringer Ingelheim. The complainants alleged that the pharma companies manufactured, marketed, and sold a drug they knew or should have known was contaminated with a cancer-causing chemical. 

In April 2020, the FDA called for the immediate recall of all Zantac brand drugs due to possible NDMA contamination. 

Research shows the manufacturers were aware of the dangers

Although the precise cause of NDMA contamination is still unknown, research existed at the time when Zantac makers were manufacturing and marketing the drug revealing a clear connection between ranitidine and NDMA. According to this research, ranitidine undergoes a chemical reaction when exposed to certain conditions and creates NDMA. In 2019, scientists at Valisure released a study that showed how ranitidine can form NDMA in the human body. 

Plaintiffs in the Zantac lawsuits allege that Boerhringer Ingelheim and Sanofi were negligent in not disclosing this known risk to consumers or the government.