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Manufacturers Settle First California Zantac Lawsuit

Shortly after the dismissal of federal Zantac lawsuits, manufacturers settled the first state case set for trial in California. The healthcare companies, Sanofi and Pfizer, agreed to settle the Zantac lawsuit before its scheduled trial in early 2023. This deal arrived only weeks after a federal judge dissolved the Zantac multidistrict litigation. While the judge’s decision was a discouraging blow to federal litigation, there are over 50,000 state Zantac lawsuits nationwide. Furthermore, despite this most recent settlement, there are several state Zantac lawsuits slated for 2023. 

Judge Dismisses Federal Zantac Lawsuits

On December 6, 2022, the judge in charge of the Zantac multidistrict litigation (MDL) dismissed all claims. An MDL handles claims with similar allegations. In the Zantac MDL, plaintiffs alleged the heartburn drug gave them cancer. This surprising development affected over 2,000 federal cases. Judge Rosenburg has overseen the Zantac proceedings since the MDL’s inception in February 2020. In two and a half years, the MDL grew to 2,056 claims alleging that Zantac gave users cancer. Plaintiffs assert the heartburn drug contained carcinogenic chemicals that resulted in bladder, esophageal, gastric, liver, and pancreatic cancer. 

However, Judge Rosenburg excluded the plaintiffs’ expert testimony required to support the Zantac cancer allegations. Barring the testimony left plaintiffs with no means to back up their claims that the heartburn drug was responsible for their cancer. The judge concluded the testing methodology that identified cancerous chemicals in Zantac was unsound. In better news, this action has left state Zantac cancer lawsuits untouched. 

The Zantac Battle in State Courts Rages On 

Plaintiffs are planning to appeal the judge’s dismissal of federal cases, but this could take years. While the fate of federal Zantac litigation remains undecided, Zantac litigation in state courts is still underway. Judge Rosenburg’s order had no bearing on state claims. Therefore, thousands of Zantac cases are pending nationwide. State courts are accepting breast, kidney, colorectal, prostate, and lung cancer claims in addition to the cancers previously included in the MDL.  

Recent California Zantac Settlement  

Four Zantac lawsuits were on the docket for California state courts for 2023, with the first occurring on February 13, 2023. Yet, the parties involved in the first of these four trials have recently settled out of court. In a lawsuit against Pfizer, Sanofi, and GSK, plaintiff Jame Goetz blamed Zantac for his bladder cancer. But, on December 21, 2022, Sanofi and Pfizer announced that they had reached a settlement with Goetz. GSK did not settle with the plaintiff as the company plans to defend itself against all state Zantac lawsuits. 

Sanofi stated that it stands by the safety of Zantac and that it only settled to avoid further costs and distraction in court. Neither manufacturer has disclosed the details of the settlement amount.