- Over 70,000 consumers have filed Zantac lawsuits against the drug’s makers—Sanofi SA, Pfizer Inc., Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals Inc. and GlaxoSmithKline, as well as generic-drug makers, retailers, distributors and active pharmaceutical ingredient makers. Plaintiffs allege that Zantac (ranitidine) contains a carcinogenic compound, NDMA.
- After researchers found that a single dose of Zantac could contain as high as 3 million nanograms of NDMA per dose, Zantac was pulled from the market on April 1, 2020. The FDA’s allowable daily limit for NDMA is 96 nanograms of NDMA
- Approximately 1,300 Zantac lawsuits have been consolidated into multidistrict litigation (MDL) in Florida before U.S. District Judge Robin Rosenberg.
- Zantac litigation is scheduled to begin in 2022.
The above-named defendants argued in a hearing last week before Judge Rosenberg that some of the MDL plaintiffs’ claims should be dismissed because they lacked specificity or an actual injury, Law360.com reported.
Defendants’ attorneys argued that consumers who filed suits based strictly on economic loss claims have not suffered an actual injury.
However, plaintiff attorney, Elizabeth Fegan of FeganScott said that this type of economic injury has precedence.
Per Law360.com reporting, Fegan said during the hearing, “The economic loss plaintiffs didn’t receive the benefit of the bargain.”
Fegan added, “They didn’t receive what they bargained for, an effective heartburn drug that did not cause cancer.”
The suits accuse the defendants of false advertising, failure to warn and other claims associated with NDMA, levels of which were found to increase when the heartburn medication is stored above room temperature; levels of the carcinogen were also found to increase over time.
Law360.com says that at last week’s hearing an attorney representing Pfizer said the consumers alleging claims for costs associated with monitoring their medical conditions have failed to state what threshold levels of NDMA cause harm. In addition, the Pfizer attorney said the plaintiffs didn’t plead whether they were exposed to a level sufficient to increase their cancer risk.
But being that specific is not necessary in this stage of the litigation (motion to dismiss), plaintiff’s attorneys argued.
Another argument defendants’ attorneys made during the hearing was that bodily injury claims should also be tossed. That’s because the plaintiffs presented a hodgepodge of incoherent facts with unspecific allegations. As such, defendants were not notified what specific claims to defend.
But being a part of a consolidated group of cases (the MDL) “defeats the efficiency afforded by being an MDL,” an attorney representing the consumers said. That argument, however, was countered by the defendants, who suggested that the statement of facts (pleading requirements) should not be relaxed simply because the caseload is voluminous.
According to LawShelf.com, federal rules and states’ rules require the more fact-heavy inquiries for motions and trials.
The hearing continues with motions to dismiss from three additional defendant categories: ranitidine distributors, retailers and pharmacies.