Following a June settlement between GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), the original manufacturer and marketer of Zantac, and a plaintiff who alleged his bladder cancer was caused because of a carcinogenic contaminant in the popular heartburn drug, a date has been set in November for what may be the first Zantac lawsuit to reach trial, Reuters reported

The undisclosed June settlement between GSK and James Goetz, one of approximately 5,000 California Zantac plaintiffs, halted the first Zantac trial, scheduled to begin July 24. 

A second Zantac trial is now slated for Nov. 13 which will be demonstrative of the way that California plaintiffs will fare in the state. 

Most Zantac lawsuits have been filed in Delaware, with over 73,000 cases pending. In December, the judge overseeing federal Zantac lawsuits in multidistrict litigation (MDL) dismissed all 50,000 cases in the MDL, ruling that there was insufficient evidence linking Zantac with various types of cancers. Zantac lawsuits filed in state courts were not affected by the MDL dismissal. 

The plaintiffs allege that Zantac caused them to develop cancer of nine different types, including colorectal, breast, and bladder. Several Zantac manufacturers are named in Zantac litigation. GSK, which did not admit to any wrongdoing or accept any liability under the terms of the settlement with Goetz, was the sole defendant in the Goetz case. Goetz had previously settled with Sanofi and Pfizer. 

Should the November Zantac trial proceed as scheduled, the case will serve as a test of the strength of the plaintiffs’ and their experts’ claims that Zantac’s active ingredient, ranitidine, transformed into a potentially carcinogenic compound, N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), over time and at temperatures above room temperature. The outcome of the case, and possibly future bellwether trials, may help the parties reach a global settlement. 

In 2020, the FDA withdrew all brand-name Zantac and generic versions from the market. Zantac returned to pharmacy shelves in 2022 under a new brand name and active ingredient, Zantac 360 (famotidine). 

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