Drugmakers to Face Delaware Trials Over Zantac Cancer Claims

In a significant legal development, GSK Plc, Pfizer Inc., and other pharmaceutical giants are set to face trials in Delaware state court after a judge ruled that expert witnesses can testify that the now-discontinued heartburn medication Zantac may cause cancer. This decision comes amidst a backdrop of approximately 75,000 lawsuits filed against Zantac manufacturers in Delaware.

Although the judge has yet to schedule a trial date, the ruling marks a crucial step forward for plaintiffs. The development follows a defeat for the victim in the first Zantac trial last month.

The forthcoming trials in Delaware will likely be closely watched, given the high stakes and the large number of claims involved.

Delaware Judge Allows Expert Evidence in Zantac Cancer Cases

On May 31, Judge Vivian Medinilla of the Delaware Superior Court issued a pivotal ruling, declaring that a jury should evaluate the scientific evidence and arguments from both sides regarding the potential cancer risks associated with Zantac.

Bloomberg reports that Judge Medinilla wrote in her 102-page ruling that “this dispute presents a classic battle of the experts” and that “Delaware courts are loath to step into the heart of technical debate between opposing scientists.”

The decision is a notable setback for former Zantac producers GSK, Pfizer, Sanofi, and Boehringer Ingelheim. These companies had collectively argued that the expert testimonies lacked sufficient scientific backing. Judge Medinilla’s ruling diverges from a 2022 decision by a federal judge in Florida, who dismissed similar expert evidence as unreliable.

There have been highs and lows for plaintiffs in the Zantac litigation. Judges in California and Illinois have allowed expert testimony linking Zantac to cancer, prompting some settlements from GSK and Pfizer. Just last month in Chicago, a jury rejected a woman’s claim that Zantac caused her colon cancer, marking a victory for drug companies in the first U.S. Zantac case to go to trial.

With Judge Medinilla’s ruling, there is speculation that GSK, Sanofi, and Pfizer might consider more out-of-court settlements to mitigate further legal risks. As the legal proceedings unfold, both sides are preparing to present their scientific arguments to the jury, setting the stage for potentially precedent-setting verdicts.

Zantac Lawsuit Concept, Judge Hitting Gavel

About the Zantac Lawsuits

In 2019, some manufacturers and pharmacies stopped selling Zantac after a chemical called NDMA was found in some pills. Tests indicated that ranitidine, the active ingredient in Zantac, could degrade into NDMA.

In 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration asked manufacturers to remove all ranitidine-based medications from the market after some were found to be contaminated with NDMA.

Plaintiffs in Zantac lawsuits have alleged that drugmakers knew that ranitidine could degrade into the potentially carcinogenic NMDA under certain conditions and failed to warn consumers of the risks.

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. The plaintiffs are appealing the ruling in Florida.

Many lawsuits were refiled in Delaware, where the drug companies’ US units are incorporated. According to Reuters, there are around 4,000 Zantac claims in California state court and about 2,000 in various other state courts around the country in addition to the cases in Delaware.

Contact Rueb Stoller Daniel Today!

If you or a family member developed cancer after taking Zantac, contact Rueb Stoller Daniel today at 1-866-CALL-RSD for a free consultation. We are one of the leading mass tort & class action law firms in America, with the results to back it up.

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  • Bloomberg.com, “GSK, Pfizer Must Face Zantac Cases in Delaware, Judge Rules” by Jef Feeley.
  • Reuters, “Delaware Judge Lets More Than 70,000 Zantac lawsuits go forward” By Brendan Pierson.