Attorneys Say GSK Knew About Zantac Cancer Risk

The first Zantac trial in Chicago has brought to light the compelling case of Angela Valadez, an 89-year-old Illinois resident who developed colon cancer after nearly two decades of using the over-the-counter medication. As she takes on two pharmaceutical giants, GSK and Boehringer Ingelheim, in her pursuit of justice, Valadez’s story underscores the gravity of the allegations against these companies.

Mikal Watts, one of Valadez’s attorneys, has leveled accusations of serious negligence and disregard for patient safety against GSK and Boehringer Ingelheim. He claims that GSK knew about the dangers of Zantac and hid the information, exposing consumers to unnecessary risks.

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Unsafe Temperatures and Humidity

The heart of the allegations revolves around the companies’ purported awareness of Zantac’s potential to undergo a chemical transformation, resulting in the formation of NDMA, a known carcinogen. Despite this knowledge, the companies allegedly failed to ensure proper handling of the medication throughout its distribution chain, exposing consumers like Valadez to unnecessary risks.

Specifically, Watts accused GSK of storing and transporting Zantac at unsafe temperatures and humidity levels. He said that NDMA levels increase in hot and humid conditions and that the pharmaceutical companies didn’t tell customers or drug retailers to refrigerate the medication.

The Chicago Sun-Time reports that Watts told the jury “This product is sensitive to temperature. … You gotta protect this product, and they didn’t” saying “these are the ways that Zantac becomes cancer.”

Concept of Zantac Trial in Chicago, Courtroom

According to Watts, the failure to advise customers to refrigerate the medication and the absence of proactive measures to safeguard its integrity illustrate a disregard for patient safety. Watts emphasized the importance of temperature control in preserving the safety of Zantac, highlighting the correlation between environmental conditions and NDMA formation.

He underscored the pharmaceutical companies’ responsibility to protect consumers by ensuring the proper handling and storage of the medication. Watts’s arguments paint a vivid picture of corporate negligence and disregard for patient well-being.

Hiding the Truth

Watts alleged that GSK knew early on that Zantac could cause cancer but sold it without warnings, Bloomberg reports. In his opening statement, Watts said internal files show a study laying out the drug’s risks were withheld from US regulators by GSK executives for 37 years.

According to Reuters, Watts claimed that Zantac pills would change color as they degraded and companies sought to hide this color change, telling the jury: “They know we’re not going to take a product that looks bad, so they put a paint job on it.” In Watts’s view, this deliberate deception underscores the companies’ prioritization of profit over patient safety.

The Significance of the Chicago Zantac Trial

As the trial unfolds in Chicago, the eyes of the legal and medical communities are keenly focused on the proceedings. The outcome of this trial could have far-reaching implications for the broader landscape of Zantac litigation and pharmaceutical accountability.

For plaintiffs like Angela Valadez, who seek justice and accountability, the trial represents a critical step toward achieving closure and restitution.

While drug companies have faced tens of thousands of lawsuits over claims that Zantac causes cancer, this trial represents the first instance where a jury will have the opportunity to weigh evidence on whether Zantac is indeed linked to cancer.

The outcome of this trial could set a precedent for future cases, potentially influencing decisions about settlements by drug companies.

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