The attorneys at Saunders & Walker are proud to announce that one of our own attorneys has been appointed to the leadership development committee of the litigation against Zantac, the notorious carcinogen-containing heartburn drug. We detail this appointment, as well as the health issues, latest drug lawsuits, and steps to take if you were adversely affected by this drug.
Judge Rosenberg Appoints 5 Lawyers in Innovative Effort
On May 8th, 2020, District Judge Robin Rosenberg, who will be hearing cases in multi-district litigation (MDL) involving Zantac, created a Leadership Development Committee. The committee will allow new lawyers access to the case for the purpose of gaining experience in the leadership field of MDL.
Five lawyers, including our own Nicola Larmond-Harvey, will gain invaluable experience as they accept the opportunity to learn about the logistics of major MDL and work side-by-side with seasoned mentors. Already a valued asset to our firm and its clients, we have every confidence that the experience Ms. Larmond-Harvey gains will benefit our client cases for years to come.
Zantac Ingredient NDMA
Ranitidine is a chemical that contains NDMA. NDMA is not only a well-known carcinogen but also a serious environmental contaminant. This was all well and good, Zantac manufacturers thought; as long as the FDA-approved drug was stable and did the job, their slick marketing campaigns, hyping of its positives to patients, and downplaying the risks when marketing to physicians would allow them to continue making money, hand over fist.
However, Zantac was not chemically stable. When a person took the drug to relieve their heartburn, its instability would cause it to break down in their body, releasing molecules of NDMA. If that weren’t bad enough, the body could never eliminate the carcinogen; instead, every time that person took a dose of Zantac, more NDMA was released and built up in the body.
Grossly Excessive Amounts of NDMA Lead to Multiple Cancer Diagnoses
Unfortunately, the biological accumulation of NDMA wasn’t the only horrible news; in addition to NDMA remaining and building up in the body, testing revealed that Zantac contained far more NDMA than was deemed acceptable by the FDA. In fact, the drug contained thousands of times more NDMA. The result was a nightmarish journey for thousands of people, as they were diagnosed with cancers of the colon, testicles, bladder, liver, ovaries, prostate, uterus, and esophagus.
Zantac Pulled from Shelves as FDA Looks On
After this happened, many pharmacies removed the drug from their shelves voluntarily, even as the FDA continued to remain silent. It wasn’t until earlier this year that the organization, so proud to announce its dedication to the protection of public health on its website, would announce that ranitidine was shown to “allegedly” cause cancer.
No fewer than seven months had passed between the time the FDA was made aware of the presence of NDMA in Zantac and when the drug was completely pulled from shelves. Thankfully, Zantac is no longer available from any retailer.
The Latest on Zantac Lawsuits
Multi-district litigation was granted in February of this year, and it was decided that cases will be heard by Judge Robin Rosenberg in Florida. As of April of this year, an order was issued by the courts to allow a two-tiered survey of Zantac statements to be conducted. The first tier will obtain an accurate number of total individual cases against the drug.
In the second tier, Saunders & Walker and other attorneys will submit information regarding the claims of individuals. Individuals who have already filed cases will be asked to provide more details with regard to their Zantac use and the physical harm they suffered as a result.
The goal of the two-tiered survey will be to form a clear picture of the severity and extent of health problems related to Zantac use. In being able to accomplish this, attorneys will be able to demonstrate the need for the organization of individual cases into parties for the purposes of mediation.
The actual multi-district litigation will take place once more cases have been brought and the final number of cases and parties have been organized.
Why Multi-District Litigation?
Multi-district litigation is a type of legal proceeding that provides many benefits. For federal courts, MDL makes it easier and more efficient for them to manage the many Zantac cases that are being filed in numerous jurisdictions.
MDL also offers the benefit of transferring high numbers of individual pending cases in several courts nationwide to a single forum that is heard at a single court. This can save individuals on attorney fees and other general costs.
Hearing Zantac cases in MDL litigation also levels the playing field, in terms of case wins and losses; instead of several judges hearing individual cases and making individual decisions that could result in a loss to the individual, all cases are heard by a single judge who is well-versed in the facts and the laws which govern them.
Individuals who participate in the MDL join others with the same claims, which can increase the chances of the accused of considering a settlement.
MDL vs. Class Action
Class-action lawsuits involve one complainant or plaintiff who represents a group of others who have the same or related complaints. However, in cases where pharmaceutical products have caused medical problems, these problems are as individual as the plaintiffs themselves.
No two patients are likely to tolerate Zantac in the same way. Multi-district litigation allows for the details of each individual case to be heard and a clearer and broader scope of damages—and, ultimately, settlement amounts—to be determined.
Check Your Medicine Cabinets for Zantac
Although it’s been several months since Zantac has been on retail shelves, you may still have some of the product in your home or stored elsewhere. It is not currently recommended that you return the drug to a take-back location due to the pandemic. However, you can safely dispose of any remaining product by consulting the label for safe disposal instructions.
Replace Zantac with These Safe Products
There are several products on the market to treat heartburn that do not contain NDMA. These include Prilosec, Prevacid, and Tagamet. You may also consider other strategies to reduce or eliminate heartburn, such as drinking a solution of one tablespoon white vinegar mixed into a glass of water.
Wearing comfortable clothing can ensure your stomach and digestive tract aren’t restricted following a meal. Reduce portion sizes to lessen heartburn, and ensure you sit up for about two hours after each meal so that proper digestion can occur.
Reducing or eliminating those foods that trigger heartburn, such as coffee, alcohol, and spicy or fried foods can reduce its frequency.
Did Zantac Make You or a Loved One Sick?
Zantac was once the highest-selling drug on the market, making drug makers, doctors, and others trillions of dollars. Now, it’s known for the many types of cancer it has caused in victims who placed their trust in it.
No drug should ever come with the possibility of a fatal disease, and no federal organization that claims to uphold the public’s safety should ever approve any drug without thorough testing. Yet, Zantac is just one of many recent additions to the roster of pharmaceuticals that have caused serious injury to those who took them, and FDA approvals of Zantac and drugs like it continue.
If you or someone you love developed cancer or another serious disease because of taking Zantac, you may be eligible for compensation. Saunders & Walker attorneys know exactly how drugmakers and pharmaceutical companies operate because we’ve had decades of experience going up against them in court.
If you’ve received a cancer or another diagnosis because of Zantac, rest assured that we’ll stop at nothing to get you the maximum amount of compensation. Claim your free consultation today.