Notable drugstores such as CVS, Walmart, and Walgreens across the country are suspending the sale of Zantac due to health concerns related to contamination. Recently, Zantac heartburn medication, and its active ingredient ranitidine, have come under fire by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and consumers for containing unacceptable levels of N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), a known carcinogen if digested.
While Sanofi, the manufacturer of Zantac, and additional pharmaceutical manufacturers of ranitidine-based medications are starting to recall their products, the FDA has issued a recommendation that anyone taking prescription ranitidine talk to their healthcare provider for alternative treatment options. For some, this call to action is too late to benefit those who have used Zantac for a prolonged period of time.
History of NDMA Contamination
Since 2018, the FDA has investigated NDMA levels in blood pressure and heart failure medications, most notably with their investigation into the popular heart medication, Valsartan. Due to NDMA’s classification by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a probable carcinogen, based on previous research and lab testing, many international drug regulating agencies are calling further research into levels of NDMA found in Zantac to determine the long-term effects of exposure.
While NDMA can be commonly found in food, drinks, and environmental components, it is rarely found to be in levels that cause concern for health risks. The current regulations set by the FDA allow a maximum of 96 nanograms of NDMA. Research from as early 1981 showed that Zantac could produce a high level of NDMA. In fact, a single tablet of Zantac has been found to produce more than 2.5 million nanograms once digested.
What to Do After Using Zantac
The FDA is not recommending that people completely stop taking Zantac. However, the agency also states that they are conducting preliminary tests to see if the amount within the medication reaches levels high enough to be detrimental or carcinogenic.
Recent changes in the manufacturing process for Zantac and additional ranitidine products are being cited as the way the potentially cancer-causing impurities are introduced into the medication. Sanofi has stated that it is beginning an investigation into its product’s manufacturing process to assess how NDMA was allowed in. This is being done by testing the active ingredient ranitidine, as well as the finished product Zantac. Additionally, the manufacturer will share its findings with international drug regulation agencies.
Current Lawsuits Over Zantac
Almost a dozen lawsuits have been filed against Sanofi and other drug companies who produce heartburn medications containing ranitidine accusing the manufacturers of hiding, or failing to disclose, that the medication contained a possible carcinogen. Currently, lawsuits have been filed against GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, Boehringer Ingelheim, and Sanofi for their production of Zantac.
Many of the lawsuits also allege that the pharmaceutical companies refused to test their product because they knew that NDMA would be found in levels that could have serious health implications for those who consumed it. Additionally, these lawsuits claim that, since there are heartburn medications available that do not contain ranitidine, the manufacturers of Zantac willingly did not release the negative information about Zantac. Since their medication relied upon ranitidine, some allege that the manufacturers did not release the information because consumers would willingly choose to use a safer alternative.
Contact an Attorney for Assistance Today
As more and more information is released about heartburn medication and its possible contamination with NDMA, many consumers are looking to pursue legal action against the negligence of Sanofi and other pharmaceutical manufacturers. If you, or someone you love, has used Zantac or another ranitidine heartburn medication, and experienced unexpected side effects or developed cancer as a result of your use, it may be beneficial for you to reach out to legal counsel.
The attorneys at the Whitley Law Firm have years of experience dealing with large companies and product liability. By understanding the possible difficulties and complexities that could come with these cases, our dedicated attorneys could help you fight for the compensation you may be owed as a result of the negligence presented by Sanofi and other pharmaceutical companies.
Whitley Law Firm attorney Whitney Butcher is interested in speaking with individuals who have developed cancer following the use of ranitidine/Zantac. If you or a loved one are in a similar circumstance, take the time to discuss your legal options. Schedule a consultation today to learn more.