Esophageal cancer is a rare disease that develops in the esophagus, or the tube that runs from your throat to your stomach. Although it is an uncommon condition, esophageal cancer can be life threatening and require intensive treatment, leading to financial hardship, emotional trauma, and physical suffering.
Many factors can contribute to esophageal cancer — including the presence of (NDMA) in the popular heartburn medication, Zantac, and its generic version, ranitidine. In April 2020, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requested a recall of all prescription and over-the-counter ranitidine products after discovering that Zantac contained dangerous levels of this carcinogenic chemical.
If you developed esophageal cancer after taking Zantac, you have legal options available to aid in your recovery. The Zantac injury attorneys at Shapiro Legal Group, PLLC can help you secure the compensation you need through a product liability lawsuit.
Why Should You Choose Shapiro Legal Group, PLLC?
- Our attorneys have represented injured clients for over 20 years. We can apply our knowledge, skills, and past experience to craft a compelling claim in your favor.
- We specialize in dangerous and defective drug claims and will apply our past experience, legal knowledge, and breadth of resources to pursue your claim to the fullest extent.
- We partner with expert witnesses who can provide valuable testimony on your behalf and help you understand the care you will require to treat your Zantac esophageal cancer.
Symptoms of Esophageal Cancer
Like many types of cancer, early stage esophageal cancer often does not cause any symptoms and you may not notice that anything is wrong until a later date. More advanced stages of esophageal cancer may contribute to the following symptoms.
- Chest pain
- Pressure or burning in the chest
- Difficulty swallowing
- Worsening indigestion or heartburn
How Zantac Can Lead to Esophageal Cancer
NDMA is a probable human carcinogen primarily used by researchers to induce tumors in clinical studies. In the past, manufacturers used NDMA to make rocket fuel, but ceased commercial use after the chemical appeared in the air, soil, and water around their plants.
NDMA belongs to a class of chemicals known as nitrosamines, most of which are highly carcinogenic to humans. We can find NDMA in substances like tobacco smoke and in foods such as beer, cured meats, and some fish. NDMA may also form as a by-product during certain chemical reactions.
While humans can safely consume up to 96 nanograms of NDMA per day, exposure to higher levels of this chemical over time causes damage to the DNA. This damage, in turn, promotes the uncontrollable development of cancerous tumors. Online pharmacy Valisure discovered that batches of Zantac contained dangerous levels of NDMA, which may increase patients’ risk of cancer.
One study of over 23,000 people between the ages of 40 to 79 discovered a correlation between a high dietary intake of NDMA and an increased risk of gastrointestinal cancers. Another long-term study of 120,000 adults over a period of 16 years found a positive association between high dietary NDMA intake and a higher risk for esophageal cancer.
The FDA Recall of Zantac
In April 2020, the FDA issued a recall for prescription and over-the-counter ranitidine products, including Zantac. The agency issued this decision after concluding an investigation into Valisure’s findings.
The FDA’s investigation revealed the following information.
- Older batches of Zantac contain higher levels of NDMA impurities.
- Zantac stored at temperatures higher than room temperature contain higher levels of NDMA.
- Some Zantac batches stored at ideal conditions still contained dangerous NDMA levels.
Although low levels of NDMA are not dangerous, repeated exposure to high levels of NDMA can increase patients’ cancer risk. Ranitidine containing products, including Zantac, may raise a patient’s level of NDMA consumption above the safe threshold. Based on these findings, the FDA recommends all Zantac patients immediately dispose of their leftover medication safely and cease use immediately.
Liability for Zantac Esophageal Cancer
Companies who manufacture medications have a responsibility to their consumers to ensure that their products are safe to use. If there are any foreseeable risks, the company has a responsibility to provide adequate warnings to their customers. Courts hold drug manufacturers to a strict liability standard, which states that negligence or intentional harm does not have to be present for a patient to file a lawsuit against a company for a dangerous or defective drug.
Failure to warn claims allege that the drug manufacturer, in this case Sanofi, failed to inform patients of all possible risks. Zantac patients who develop esophageal cancer after taking the medication may be eligible to file a lawsuit based on Sanofi’s failure to warn patients of these serious dangers.
Zantac’s warning label contained no mention of its carcinogenic risks or the possibility of unsafe NDMA exposure, which third-party investigations have discovered in the medication. If physicians and patients knew about these risks, it is highly likely that they would have chosen an alternative drug. Expert witnesses, medical records, and scientific evidence can help you prove Sanofi’s liability for your esophageal cancer.
Do I Have a Case?
Product liability lawsuits against Sanofi enable former Zantac patients to collect compensation for their cancer-related damages. To qualify for Zantac litigation, however, you will need to meet the following criteria.
- You took name-brand Zantac, not generic ranitidine.
- You received a diagnosis for esophageal cancer within the past 10 years.
- No more than 10 years has passed since the last time you took Zantac.
- You developed esophageal cancer no less than three years after starting Zantac.
- You took Zantac for at least one year at a minimum dosage of 300 milligrams per week.
- You do not smoke cigarettes on a regular basis.
If you believe you may be eligible for a lawsuit against Sanofi, speak to an attorney at Shapiro Legal Group, PLLC as soon as possible. Only a lawyer currently handling Zantac litigation can evaluate your claim and determine whether or not you qualify. After speaking with your attorney, you can begin your first steps toward filing your claim and collecting necessary evidence to prove your right to compensation.
Speak with a Zantac Esophageal Cancer Attorney
Esophageal cancer is an aggressive disease that causes significant hardship. You may experience difficulties paying for medical care, recovering from months of lost wages, or coping with the physical and emotional pain that accompanies cancer treatment.
In these situations, Shapiro Legal Group, PLLC can help. We specialize in defective drug litigation and represent Zantac patients nationwide. Our firm’s results speak for themselves — we have helped thousands of injured individuals recover from their damages.
Contact us today to schedule your free consultation and discuss your next steps.