Updated May 25, 2020
Current Zantac lawsuits are still pending, but it is expected that plaintiffs will reach a settlement with the drug manufacturers within the next several years. There are more than a dozen drug makers that produce heartburn drug Zantac and generic ranitidine medications. So this may lead to a number of individual settlements occurring at different times.
Settlement awards are likely to be sizable and would encompass damages such as medical bills, lost wages, loss of consortium and pain and suffering.
In this article, our Zantac lawyers will discuss:
- 1. When will the Zantac lawsuits settle?
- 2. How are settlements negotiated?
- 3. Are the lawsuits separate or a class action?
- 4. How much of the settlement do attorneys get?
- 5. What if I do not agree to the settlement?
- 6. Does Zantac cause cancer?
Settlements in the ranitidine lawsuits are not expected for at least a couple of years. The Zantac recalls began only in 2019. Litigation has just started. And on April 1, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requested that manufacturers withdraw their ranitidine products, both prescription and over-the-counter (OTC), brand name and generic. Even before that, large pharmacies such as Walmart, CVS and Walgreens stopped selling them, and many pharmaceutical companies issued voluntary recalls of ranitidine drugs.1
Plaintiffs’ attorneys understand that time is of the essence for cancer victims and their families. And no self-respecting lawyer charges dangerous drug victims any legal fees until there is a settlement. That serves as a further incentive for plaintiffs’ attorneys to work as quickly as possible.
Mass tort cases such as Zantac resolve through either:
- Global (or matrix) settlements; or
- Inventory settlements
2.1. Global (matrix) settlements
Like it sounds, a global settlement is a dollar amount that covers all the outstanding claims. (In the Zantac litigation, there may very well be tens of thousands of claims.) There is also a “matrix” of criteria to decide which plaintiff gets how much.
For instance, stage 1 cancer patients who get cured may receive less than stage 4 cancer patients who are terminal. And people who had one surgery may receive less than people who had multiple surgeries.
Ultimately, it is up to each plaintiff to accept or reject the settlement.
2.2. Inventory settlements
With inventory settlements, plaintiffs’ law firms evaluate their cases individually. (Most plaintiffs’ firms have multiple Zantac clients.)
Each plaintiff agrees to an acceptable settlement amount. Then the plaintiffs’ firm adds together each client’s acceptable minimum. This is called the aggregate minimum.
Ultimately, the defense attorneys offer each plaintiffs’ firm a settlement to cover all its clients. If a plaintiffs’ firm scores a larger settlement than the aggregate minimum, each client will get a percentage of the extra money.
Each plaintiff’s lawsuit is separate. But to streamline litigation, all the lawsuits combine into an MDL (multi-district litigation).
In an MDL, there is one judge who presides over every case during the pretrial stages. Then a few cases go to trial. The results of these bellwether trials are critical. They determine if there will be settlements, and for how much.
MDLs are different from class action lawsuits. In class actions, every member of the class gets the same settlement amount. In MDLs, each plaintiff gets a separate amount based on his/her own case.
At this time, there is one Zantac MDL out of the Southern District of Florida (West Palm Beach). The MDL ID number is 2924. Judge Robin L. Rosenberg is presiding. The defendants include drugmakers Sanofi and Boehringer.
The standard legal fee for plaintiffs’ attorneys is 40% plus expenses. (In mass tort cases like Zantac with thousands of plaintiffs, “expenses” tend to be minimal.)
So if a plaintiff gets a $100,000 settlement, the plaintiff can expect to receive close to $60,000 (60% of the total).
An attorney’s retainer agreement spells out all the terms of the legal fee. People are advised to never hire an attorney who charges a fee upfront. People are also advised to never hire an attorney who charges a fee if he/she loses the case.
Plaintiffs who do not agree to any settlement offer may take the case to trial. But there is no guarantee the plaintiff will win. And if the plaintiff does win, there is no guarantee the court will award more than the settlement amount.
Zantac plaintiffs can discuss with their attorneys whether a settlement is fair or not and their chances of success at trial. No plaintiff should ever feel pressured to accept a settlement from drug companies.
There is a strong argument that both brand and over-the-counter Zantac causes various cancers, including liver cancer, stomach cancer, bladder cancer, and prostate cancer, among others. Zantac is a cancer risk because the active ingredient ranitidine allegedly causes “unacceptable levels” of the chemical compound n-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) to form in the human body’s stomach acid, especially in the presence of nitrites.2
NDMA is a probable human carcinogen according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the World Health Organization. Scientists use NDMA exposure to cause cancer in lab rats. And people have used high levels of NDMA in attempt to poison others.3
For decades people had taken brand or generic Zantac as an antacid heartburn medication. It also helps treat gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and acid reflux. Had patients known about the presence of NDMA and its risks, they may have elected not to take it. And doctors may not have prescribed it had they known about the high NDMA levels.
Contact us for help on your Zantac cancer lawsuit…
Have you, a family member, or a loved one been diagnosed with cancer after taking Zantac? We are so sorry. Our personal injury lawyers want to help.
Call our Zantac lawsuit attorneys at 877-504-7750 or fill out the form on this page. We offer free case evaluations 24/7. There is a statute of limitations to file a lawsuit in the United States, so act quickly.
- FDA Requests Removal of All Ranitidine Products (Zantac) from the Market.
- Valisure, Citizen Petition on Ranitidine (September 9, 2019); FDA requires additional testing of ranitidine and nizatidine as part of agency’s ongoing effort to help ensure product safety for patients and consumers, FDA Updates and Press Announcements on NDMA in Zantac (ranitidine).
- Technical Fact Sheet – N-Nitroso-dimethylamine (NDMA), EPA (January 2014).