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Zantac Prescribed 15 Million Times Per Year, Despite Evidence of Cancer Link

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According to an article by USA Today, the heartburn drug Zantac has been prescribed over 15 million times per year, at a consistent rate since at least 2010. The Food and Drug Administration recently announced that tests revealed unacceptably high levels of probable carcinogen NDMA in Zantac and its generic version, ranitidine. Even more troubling is the fact that studies may have revealed this possible cancer link since the 1980s. This begs the question: why have pharmaceutical companies permitted Zantac to remain on the market, putting millions of Zantac and ranitidine users at risk of developing cancer?

Valisure Discovers NDMA in Several Forms of Ranitidine

The FDA's announcement followed a study by Connecticut-based online pharmacy and testing lab Valisure. The company first notified the FDA of their findings in June of 2019 and filed a petition asking the agency to recall all ranitidine products in September.

According to Valisure, research by them, Stanford University, and other sources has revealed that dangerously high levels of NDMA are found in ranitidine and are a result of "inherent instability in the ranitidine molecule."

Furthermore, Valisure claims that medical studies as far back as the early 1980s have revealed possible links between Zantac (ranitidine) use and cancer diagnoses.

FDA Finds "Low Levels" of NDMA in Testing of 1,500 Zantac Samples

The FDA responded by conducting their own tests of 1,500 Zantac samples. While their results revealed lower levels than what Valisure had discovered, NDMA levels were still over the agency's daily threshold limits.

The agency has continued to test samples and has encouraged Zantac (ranitidine) manufacturers to issue voluntary recalls if their products have unacceptably high levels of NDMA.

According to Janet Woodcock, the director of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, the agency's chemists suspect that NDMA is formed when ranitidine reacts with something, possibly nitrites during the manufacturing process. The FDA has encouraged pharmaceutical companies to investigate and determine if ingredients in ranitidine are exposed to nitrites during this process.

Why Have Some Pharmaceutical Companies Refused to Recall Ranitidine?

If Valisure's findings are accurate and evidence of Zantac-related cancers has been available since the 1980s, why have pharmaceutical companies allowed millions to continue taking the drug while at risk of developing cancer?

The answer is likely simple. These companies have prioritized their own profits over the lives of consumers.

Our defective drug lawyers see this all too often. Greedy pharmaceutical companies knowingly allow dangerous drugs to remain on the market so that they can continue raking in millions, if not billions, of dollars. And consumers are left to suffer the consequences.

There is no excuse for knowingly allowing a potentially life-threatening drug to remain on the market. Negligent pharmaceutical companies who do so must be held accountable for their callous disregard for the lives of consumers.

At Banville Law, our defective drug lawyers are proud to take these companies to court and hold them liable for the devastation they've caused to those who take their drugs and the families of those who lose loved ones due to the side effects of these drugs.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer after taking Zantac or a generic version of ranitidine, we're prepared to help your family fight for justice. Contact us today to learn more about your family's legal rights, including a potential Zantac cancer lawsuit, in a free consultation.


Laurence P. Banville
Date Published: January 22, 2020
Laurence P. Banville is the managing partner of Banville Law. As an experienced personal injury attorney, Mr. Banville helps clients recover compensation from those responsible for his clients' injuries. Our firm is located in New York City, serving clients from the five boroughs: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx, and Staten Island.
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