A California man who alleged that he developed bladder cancer because of the heartburn drug, Zantac, has agreed to a confidential settlement to resolve his personal injury claim with the British pharmaceutical company, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), preventing the first Zantac cancer case from going to trial later this month, Reuters reported

The case of Plaintiff James Goetz was scheduled to start July 24 and would have served as a bellwether trial or test case of how a jury would interpret Zantac cancer claims. 

GSK faces 5,000 similar lawsuits in California. The majority of Zantac cancer lawsuits have been filed in Delaware state courts, with over 73,000 similar claims, which were filed after the heartburn drug was pulled from the market in 2020 over concerns that the active ingredient, ranitidine, transformed into a potentially-carcinogenic substance, N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), over time and at temperatures above room temperature. 

Glaxo Holdings, a company now part of GSK, originally marketed Zantac, which was approved in 1983 and eventually became one of the first drugs to earn over $1 billion in sales. Zantac was later sold by several other drug companies, including Boehringer Ingelheim, Sanofi and Pfizer, the latter two of which settled with Goetz late last year. 

In December last year, former Zantac makers escaped claims filed in U.S. federal courts after the judge overseeing consolidated claims in multidistrict litigation ruled that there was no substantial evidence provided by plaintiffs’ expert witnesses linking Zantac to cancer. 

Zantac litigation at the state level was allowed to proceed in March when a California judge disallowed GSK’s attempt to prevent expert testimony from being presented at trial. 

As part of the settlement, GSK did not admit any liability and said, per Reuters, it would “vigorously defend itself in any other Zantac cases.” 

A statement provided by Goetz’s attorneys stated that they were pleased that GSK “agreed to settle and finally bring closure to Mr. Goetz."