Brian White | January 18, 2024 | Product Liability
Zantac, known generically as ranitidine, was a prescription and OTC heartburn medication that first entered the US market in 1983. In 2020, the FDA asked retailers to pull it from their shelves due to cancer risks.
Retailers complied, resulting in a functional recall of the product even though the FDA never formally recalled Zantac.
So, What’s Wrong With Zantac?
Zantac chemically reduces to NDMA, a known carcinogen that also resulted in thousands of product liability lawsuits over Valsartan. The carcinogenic effects of Zantac increase under certain conditions, such as storage over long periods of time at high temperatures.
In 2021, Sanofi, the manufacturer, released Zantac 360 as a replacement. Zantac 360 suffers from no such liability, at least as far as anyone knows.
How Strict Product Liability Law Works
Under Texas strict product liability law, you can sue the manufacturer or distributor of a product that is defective and unreasonably dangerous. The defect must be either:
- A design defect, meaning that the product is dangerous even though it is manufactured exactly according to its design;
- A manufacturing defect, meaning that the product was not manufactured as designed.
- A warning defect, meaning that the product included inadequate warnings (“Should not be taken by pregnant women,” for example).
There are certain other requirements for a strict product liability claim, such as the injured claimant must not have been misusing the product. It could be said that Zantac suffered from a design defect because it chemically decomposed into a carcinogenic substance.
It is important to note that you do not have to prove fault to win a strict product liability claim. Indeed, you can sue a distributor of a defective product for a manufacturing defect, even though the distributor did not manufacture the product. This becomes important when the manufacturer is located overseas and has no assets in the United States.
Plaintiffs have filed thousands of state court lawsuits over Zantac-related cancer. Because these cases had several important facts in common, the court initiated a nationwide consolidation of Zantac cases into a single MDL (Multidistrict Litigation) case.
The court dismissed these MDL cases in May 2023, affecting around 50,000 plaintiffs. The court based its dismissal on an assertion that the plaintiff’s expert failed to establish that Zantac caused the cancer that the plaintiffs were complaining about.
An appeal of this dismissal is pending. As of January 2024, some state court lawsuits have been settled, but there have been no trial verdicts.
How Do You Qualify To File a Zantac Lawsuit?
You must meet the following criteria to qualify to press a Zantac lawsuit:
- You suffer from stomach, esophageal, bladder, liver, or pancreatic cancer;
- You took Zantac at least once a week for at least a year before your cancer diagnosis.
- You developed cancer no later than 20 years after your last dose of Zantac.
- Your cancer diagnosis took place before you turned 90.
- You have evidence of your consumption of Zantac (a prescription, medical records, or other forms of documentation); and
- You took the brand name version of Zantac, not the generic version.
Some of these requirements are lawyer’s requirements, not formal legal requirements. Even if you meet these requirements, there is no guarantee that a lawyer will take your case. It all depends on the overall strength of your claim.
You Can Still File a Zantac Lawsuit in a Texas State Court
Even if the court dismisses the appeal of the Zantac MDL, you can still maintain a state court lawsuit. The dismissal of the MDL is not necessarily fatal to your claim. It does mean, however, that you will need to take particular care to establish a cause-and-effect relationship between your Zantac consumption and your cancer. A skilled Houston product liability lawyer can help you with this.
Damages in a successful Zanta personal injury lawsuit can include medical expenses, lost earnings, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and many other items.
Wrongful Death Lawsuits
If the victim of Zantac-induced cancer dies from that cancer, Texas allows qualifying relatives to file a wrongful death lawsuit and a (closely related) survival action. Wrongful death claims apply their own set of damages, but they are substantial.
You Don’t Need Any Money To Hire a Product Liability Lawyer
You can hire a Houston product liability lawyer to represent you in your Zantac lawsuit without a dime in your pocket. Under the contingency fee system, your lawyer won’t charge you until they win compensation for your case—and even then, your legal fees are a percentage of the amount you win. If they don’t win, you don’t need to pay attorney’s fees.
Contact the Houston Product Liability Lawyers at Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers For Help
For more information, contact the Houston product liability law firm of Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers by calling (713) 500-5000.
Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers
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Houston, TX 77098
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