The first Zantac (ranitidine) trial has been scheduled by a California state judge for Oct. 10, 2022.
Several hundred plaintiffs have alleged that the heartburn medication caused them to develop cancer because of NDMA contamination. Over 800 Zantac lawsuits have been consolidated into a multidistrict litigation (MDL) in Florida. But several Zantac lawsuits have also been filed in jurisdictions in state courts.
In addition to California, thousands of Zantac lawsuits have been collectively filed thus far in Florida; New Jersey; New York; Portland, Oregon; Seattle; Philadelphia; Minneapolis; and Cook County, IL. These state-level Zantac cases may ultimately see court dates that precede the Oct. 2022 date set by Superior Court Judge Evelio Grillo for the County of Alameda. Judge Grillo oversees the Ranitidine Product Cases Judicial Council Coordinated Proceedings (JCCP). A JCCP is the state-level equivalent of a federal MDL.
But the Oct. 10, 2022 date is the first one to be officially set.
No specific single plaintiff’s case will be tried on Oct. 10, 2022. Rather, pre-trial proceedings will take place. Plaintiff’s attorneys will select on that date the first case they would like to go to trial. Attorneys representing the defendants will select the second case in the JCCP hey would like to go to trial.
This alternating process establishes bellwether trials, which are jury trials especially selected to help establish facts in mass tort cases in case future trials take place.
Plaintiff’s attorneys will select a case they believe has the strongest chance of winning while the legal team for the defense will pick a case they believe has the weakest evidence. If juries establish that Zantac makers caused harm to plaintiffs in bellwether cases, the defendants may choose to settle future cases.
According to a press release, three other bellwether trials have been set in the California JCCP, all of which are to be held in 2023: Feb. 6; May 1, 2023; and Aug. 7.
As for Zantac MDL in Florida, presided over by U.S. District Court judge, Judge Robin Rosenberg, the first bellwether case will likely not be tried until 2023.
Claims against dozens of generic Zantac makers have been dismissed by a federal judge because of the preemption claim. The judge ruled that FDA labeling decisions protect drugmakers from claims made in state courts, according to FiercePharma.com.
However, manufacturers of brand-name Zantac are still facing thousands of claims.
On April 1, 2020, the FDA requested all companies withdraw their ranitidine products, after testing revealed an unacceptable level of NDMA, a carcinogenic compound. Levels of NDMA were found to increase in ranitidine the longer the product sat on the shelf. In addition, NDMA levels were found to increase at temperatures above room temperature.
Consuming Zantac has caused numerous types of cancer, plaintiffs have alleged, including bladder, stomach, kidney, esophageal, liver, pancreatic, and prostate.
Defendants in the Zantac MDL include Sanofi; GlaxoSmithKline; Pfizer; Boehringer Ingelheim; and Chattem.
The pre-trial discovery process is expected to last until the end of this year at the earliest. This is a developing story…