First Zantac-Related Lawsuit Reaches a Settlement Prior to Trial Date 

June 28, 2023 by Natalie McCormick
First Zantac-Related Lawsuit Reaches a Settlement Prior to Trial Date 

ALAMEDA COUNTY, Calif. — U.K.-based pharmaceutical giant GSK reached its first legal settlement of a case stemming from claims its heartburn medication Zantac caused cancer.

The company’s settlement with California resident James Goetz last Friday means the company will avoid a much-anticipated trial that was scheduled to start next month.

Goetz sued GSK in 2020 on the claims that the now discontinued heartburn pill caused his bladder cancer. 

Prior to GSK’s involvement with Zantac, the popular pill was distributed by a number of other drug companies, including Pfizer, Boehringer Ingelheim and Sanofi. 

Goetz also sued both Sanofi and Pfizer, but reached settlements with both companies in December. 

Fierce Pharma says that GSK is still facing tens of thousands of lawsuits over cancer risks associated with Zantac. 

According to Reuters, GSK has 5,000 Zantac lawsuits pending in California and nearly 73,000 pending in Delaware, with no trials currently scheduled. 

In a statement made by GSK on Friday, they claimed that “the settlement reflects the company’s desire to avoid distraction related to protracted litigation in this case.”

“GSK does not admit any liability in this settlement and will continue to vigorously defend itself based on the facts and the science in all other Zantac cases,” the statement said. 

Plaintiffs in other lawsuits and critics of the company contend GSK knew for years of the cancer risk, but it wasn’t until 2019, when an online pharmacy found high levels of a likely carcinogen in the pills, that that risk became publicly known.

In 2020, the Food and Drug Administration informed the public that an impurity in some ranitidine products increases over time when stored at higher than normal room temperatures and that they could be exposed to a carcinogen as a result. 

The agency then rescinded its approval of the over-the-counter product, and encouraged people that had any Zantac products in their homes to dispose of them immediately. 

A company spokesperson said via email that “patient safety is the highest priority for GSK, and the company categorically refutes any allegation of having covered up data regarding the safety of ranitidine.” 

“The safety of ranitidine has been thoroughly evaluated over the past 40 years,” she added. 

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