Published on January 27, 2020
If you take the popular heartburn and acid-reducing medication Zantac, or any of the generic medications that are sold that contain the active ingredient ranitidine, you may be aware of the ongoing concerns about cancer-causing agents in the medicine. There is ongoing work by the Food and Drug Administration to determine the nature of these findings, initially reported by a Connecticut-based online pharmacy Valisure, that found the contaminant NDMA (N-nitroso-dimethylamine) in samples of the medication as it was processed in lab tests. NDMA is listed as a possible carcinogen that may cause or contribute to the development of a variety of cancers in humans, including stomach and bladder cancers.
The FDA has been making ongoing announcements about a series of voluntary recalls that have been taken up by both drug manufacturers and retailers alike, including Glenmark Pharmaceutical Inc., Appco Pharma LLC, Sandoz, and Sanofi, as well as a variety of major retailers including Walgreens. While testing is still uncertain about whether or not the presence of NDMA has a direct correlation to an increased risk of cancer, the FDA is suggesting that all producers and retailers test their medication and discontinue distribution of any compound that is found to produce more than 96 nanograms per day (0.32 parts per million), currently accepted as the maximum acceptable daily intake amount.
In support of these findings, Walgreens has implemented a voluntary recall and is offering refunds for patients who have purchased ranitidine or Zantac through their pharmacy. If you are prescribed Zantac or ranitidine through a medical professional, it is essential that you consult with them before deciding to stop taking your medication or switching to an alternative. FDA’s tests of samples of alternatives such as Pepcid (famotidine), Tagamet (cimetidine), Nexium (esomeprazole), Prevacid (lansoprazole) and Prilosec (omeprazole) show no NDMA in the medicines to date.
If you are a loved one has suffered from any of the related cancers, such as stomach cancer or bladder cancer, contact Balkin & Mausner to learn about how you can find the legal support that you deserve in order to move forward with this situation. When dealing with voluntary recalls and uncertain testing results, the path forward can be uncertain; with the help of an experienced personal injury attorney who understands the nuances of medication and FDA-related protections, you can get the help that you need.
Why Is Zantac Recalled?
Zantac and other generic medications going by the name of ranitidine (the active chemical in this group of medications, known as histamine-2 blockers) are currently being recalled and discontinued after lab testings produced results showing that ranitidine produces a byproduct that is suspected to cause cancer due to prolonged high levels of exposure. These findings were initially discovered by a Connecticut-based online pharmacy in a series of tests, at which point they alerted the FDA to their findings. Since these initial tests, the FDA has made adjustments to the testing levels in order to produce more-realistic results and suggested a recall of all types of histamine-2 blockers that are found to exceed the suggested level of NDMA. It was determined that Valisure’s initial testing method was using temperatures that were unrealistic for human processing, and may have led to a significantly-elevated reading of NDMA.
Since there are a variety of alternative medications available that produce similar acid-blocking effects as Zantac, this recall should not seriously impact patients, provided that they work with their doctor in order to plan a transition.
Walgreens Zantac Recall
Keeping in line with a growing trend of retailers, both national and local, Walgreens Pharmacy has taken Zantac and other ranitidine-containing medications off of their shelves. However, it is important to note that Walgreens has not instituted a mandatory or complete recall; instead, they are offering a refund for those who wish to discontinue using Zantac and would like to be credited for the costs of this possible-dangerous medication.
If you have purchased Zantac or any generic medication that contains ranitidine from Walgreens and would like a refund, visit your local pharmacy and inquire about how your specific purchase will be addressed by the company. It is important to note that the levels of NDMA present in lab results is found to be similar to levels present in things such as smoked meats, which is one of the major reasons why the FDA has decided not to institute a complete and mandatory recall of the medication at this time.
Can I Sue For Zantac Usage?
There are a growing number of lawsuits associated with Zantac-usage and the cancer-causing nature of NDMA present in the medication, and it is likely that this trend will continue as more information emerges about the potential harm of the drug.
If you believe that you or a loved one have suffered from bladder cancer, stomach cancer, or any other gastric or colorectal cancer as a result of exposure to NDMA from using ranitidine, contact Balkin & Mausner as soon as possible to speak with an experienced attorney who is ready to review your case and decide the optimal path forward for you in this unfortunate situation.