First Zantac Trial Begins in Chicago

The first Zantac trial began on May 2 in Chicago a crowded Cook County courtroom. While drug companies have faced tens of thousands of lawsuits over claims that Zantac causes cancer, this is the first time a jury will weigh the arguments. All cases previously set for trial settled or were dropped.

The plaintiff, 89-year-old Angela Valadez of Illinois, developed colon cancer after taking the over-the-counter Zantac for almost 20 years. She is suing two companies, GSK and Boehringer Ingelheim, that used to make the drug.

The Zantac trial in Chicago is a pivotal moment. The outcome could influence whether defendants decide to settle pending Zantac cases and how much they might offer plaintiffs.

If you or a loved one has been harmed by Zantac, call Rueb Stoller Daniel today at 1-866-CALL-RSD for a free consultation!

Attorneys Claim Drugmakers Hid Dangers of Zantac

One of Valadez’s attorneys, Mikal Watts, asserted that the corporations were aware that Zantac’s primary component, ranitidine, had the potential to transform into the carcinogenic compound NDMA over time or when subjected to extreme temperatures. However, they failed to ensure its proper handling by transporters, distributors, and retailers.

Watts accused GSK and Boehringer Ingelheim of hiding the dangers of Zantac. He told the jury the pills would change color as they degraded, but the companies would cover it up. According to Reuters, he said, “They know we’re not going to take a product that looks bad, so they put a paint job on it.”

Attorneys for GSK and Boehringer Ingelheim argued there was no scientific evidence that Zantac causes cancer and that the drug wasn’t responsible for Valadez’s disease. They said Angela Valadez had many risk factors for colon cancer.

Zantac Lawsuit Concept Image

About the Zantac Lawsuits

First approved in 1983, Zantac became the world’s best-selling medicine in 1988 and one of the first-ever drugs to top $1 billion in annual sales. In 2020, the FDA recalled ranitidine, including Zantac and its generics, after a lab found NDMA in the drug. Thousands of Zantact lawsuits were filed in state and federal court.

In 2022, drug companies secured a significant victory when a judge dismissed around 50,000 claims consolidated in federal court in Florida. The judge ruled that plaintiffs’ expert witnesses’ opinions on Zantac’s cancer-causing potential lacked solid scientific backing.

Over 70,000 Zantac cases are still pending in the U.S., with many in Delaware state court. There, a judge is reviewing similar arguments from drugmakers aiming to exclude plaintiffs’ expert testimony.

How Will the Zantac Trial in Chicago Impact Pending Cases?

The Zantac trial in Chicago marks a pivotal moment in the ongoing litigation surrounding the popular heartburn medication. This trial represents the first instance where a jury will have the opportunity to weigh evidence on whether Zantac is indeed linked to cancer, as claimed by plaintiffs.

The outcome of this trial could set a precedent for future cases, potentially influencing decisions about settlements by drug companies. If the jury finds in favor of the plaintiffs, pharmaceutical companies will be more inclined to offer settlements to avoid the potential adverse jury verdicts.

Conversely, if the jury determines that there is insufficient evidence to establish a causal link between Zantac and cancer, it could bolster the defense arguments of drug companies in subsequent trials. This could potentially impact the willingness of these companies to settle claims and shape the trajectory of future litigation strategies.

If the jury awards a sizeable sum to Valadez, it could lead to large settlements for other plaintiffs.

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