A US District Judge in Florida has selected a group of 26 lawyers to move ahead with lawsuits against Sanofi, the manufacturers of heartburn drug Zantac, over the drug’s links to cancer.
US District Judge Robin Rosenberg has selected a team of lawyers to lead multidistrict litigation against drug firm Sanofi over the risks that the popular heartburn medication Zantac poses to consumers.
The litigation combines hundreds of lawsuits against Sanofi, the company that makes Zantac, from around the country. The cases seek compensation for patients after tests found a cancer-causing chemical, NDMA, in Zantac in late 2019.
The cases claim Sanofi and other drug companies knew about the possible presence of carcinogens in the heartburn drug Zantac and other products but failed to inform consumers. Studies dating back to the 1980s raised the possibility of impurities that could lead to cancer, but the pharmaceutical firms declined to inform consumers about the risks.
The move by Judge Rosenburg signals that cases against Sanofi will soon move forward. Judge Rosenburg also emphasized the diversity of the team of lawyers chosen to lead the litigation, which includes nearly equal representation of women and at least four racial minorities.
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Last September, a small lab in the US called Valisure found unsafe levels of NDMA in ranitidine, the generic version of Zantac. Valisure informed the US Food and Drug Administration that their testing had found levels of NDMA in the heartburn drug Zantac that were over 3,000 times higher than the safe daily limit. Sanofi and other makers of ranitidine drugs soon pulled their products off the market.
In April, the FDA announced a request that all manufacturers of ranitidine drugs remove their products from drug store shelves and pharmacies due to the possible presence of carcinogens in the drugs.
“The agency has determined that the impurity in some ranitidine products increases over time and when stored at higher than room temperatures and may result in consumer exposure to unacceptable levels of this impurity,” the FDA announcement read. “As a result of this immediate market withdrawal request, ranitidine products will not be available for new or existing prescriptions or OTC use in the U.S.”
Studies have linked NDMA to cancer of the kidneys, bladder, stomach, pancreas, liver and lungs.
As the evidence, against the heartburn drug Zantac maker Sanofi, mounts and the litigation moves forward, personal injury lawyers say the number of cases against the company will likely continue to grow.
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