Everything You Need to Know About the Zantac MDL
Many people have heard about the Zantac lawsuits but may not understand why plaintiffs are filing them. Some may wonder if they should file a lawsuit after taking Zantac or one of the generic forms of ranitidine. If you have questions about the Zantac recall or Zantac claims, we invite you to reach out to our office for more information.
Below is a summary of the important elements of the Zantac MDL that might be of interest to you.
What is Zantac?
Zantac, the brand name for ranitidine, was a popular heartburn medication. It was also used to treat acid reflux, GERD, and ulcers. The medication belongs to the group of drugs called Histamine-2 (H2) blockers, which limit the production of stomach acid.
Zantac and ranitidine were available by prescription and over-the-counter.
In September of 2019, a contaminant known as NDMA (N-Nitrosodimethylamine) was discovered in ranitidine medications, including Zantac. NDMA is a probable human carcinogen, which means that it increases the risk of developing cancer. The amount of NDMA in ranitidine increased over time, especially when the medication was stored at higher than room temperature.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration requested that Zantac and the generic versions of ranitidine be removed from the market. The market withdrawal made ranitidine and Zantac unavailable in the U.S. market, including over the counter or by prescription.
Zantac Lawsuits Filed Claiming Negligence and Wrongdoing
Injury victims began to file lawsuits almost as soon as Zantac and ranitidine were recalled. The plaintiffs alleged they developed cancer after taking the medication for several years. Many more lawsuits soon followed.
Because of the number of lawsuits being filed, an MDL was created to coordinate the cases. The Zantac MDL is located in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. The Honorable Robin L. Rosenberg presides over the MDL.
What is an MDL?
An MDL or multi-district litigation is a legal process of combining multiple cases under one federal court jurisdiction. The cases involve the same allegations and have similar facts.
By consolidating the cases, the cases can move faster through the discovery phase and pre-trial phase. MDLs are also more cost-effective for all parties because the parties do not need to repeat the same steps for hundreds or thousands of cases.
An MDL is a temporary consolidation of cases. Unlike a class action lawsuit, each case remains an individual legal action. The cases are tried individually, with different juries hearing the cases.
When the cases are ready to go to trial, the judge chooses a few cases, generally four to five cases, to go to trial. These cases are called bellwether trials. The bellwether trials provide some insight into how juries will decide the core questions common in all cases.
After the first bellwether trials end, the parties may negotiate to settle the rest of the cases. Depending on the outcome of the bellwether trials, defendants may be more willing to offer fair settlements to avoid extremely large awards from juries.
However, if the bellwether trials favor the defendants, the plaintiffs may be the parties willing to accept more modest settlements instead of seeking multi-million dollar settlements.
What is the Status of the Zantac MDL?
There are over 7,000 plaintiffs who claim Zantac or the generic version caused them harm and damages.
The defendants named in the lawsuit include:
- Sanofi US Services Inc.
- Sanofi-Aventis U.S. LLC
- GlaxoSmithKline LLC; Pfizer Inc.
- Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
- Chattem, Inc.
- Numerous retailers, distributors, and generic drug manufacturers
Other MDLs could be established against additional defendants. The plaintiffs’ attorneys have filed a request for the court to set up two class action lawsuits, but that has not occurred as of this date.
It could take several years for the MDL to finish. At this time, the judge has scheduled the first bellwether cases for trial next year.
However, recent filings with the court request a continuance of the bellwether trials because Sanofi has been accused of deleting emails that the plaintiffs allege are crucial to their case.
The attorneys allege that the deletion of the emails has impeded their ability to conduct discovery and hold depositions. Therefore, they need additional time to complete discovery before preparing for trial.
Have There Been Any Zantac Settlements?
No, none of the cases have been settled at this point. It is impossible to know how large Zantac settlements might be until the first bellwether trials finish.
Individuals who believe they may have a claim for damages related to ranitidine products should contact a Zantac lawsuit attorney. If you were injured because you took Zantac or a generic form of Zantac, you could be entitled to compensation for your injuries and damages.
Compensation for defective drug cases can total millions of dollars when the case involves permanent disability, wrongful death, or other catastrophic injuries. Cancer is a severe injury. Therefore, damages may be high in the Zantac cases.