What Happened With Zantac 

Zantac (ranitidine) was for many years a very popular drug among sufferers of acid regurgitation, heartburn or GERD. It gave them a way to combat their symptoms and find relief from an unpleasant malady. For many, it freed them from the constant pain of this type of disease.

However, unknowingly, Zantac users were also taking a chemical they would later find out caused cancer. This jarring situation was made known in 2019 when the United States Food and Drug Administration informed the public about this problem. According to the FDA, Zantac contained a human carcinogen, identified as NDMA. 

Manufacturer of Zantac May Have Known This

The manufacturer of Zantac is the pharmaceutical company Sanofi, which is now known as Sanofi-Aventis. The question early on was whether the company knew about the presence of NDMA in the drug formulation and chose not to notify the patients or the federal authorities.

Was Zantac a Successful Drug?

The drug formulation was first on the market in the United States in 1983. It was so popular with people suffering from heartburn that its sales totaled $1 billion after three years on the market. By 2018, its sales were $139 million a year.  In time, it became available in a prescription format and over-the-counter. By 2020, all forms of Zantac were recalled by the FDA

What Did Zantac Do?

Zantac belonged to a family of drugs that block histamine, so they were classified as H2 blockers. Since the gastrointestinal release of histamine has an effect on acid reflux, the ability of the drug to block histamine made it effective. 


So, what is NDMA? Its chemical name is N-Nitrosodimethylamine, which is a product of particular industrial production. Since 1970, it has been linked to certain forms of cancer and is toxic to the liver. Chinese manufacturers found that a drug used to maintain blood pressure, valsartan, contained NDMA. It was recalled and initiated the search for NDMA in other drugs. 

The presence of NDMA in Zantac was found by the testing laboratory Valisure. The company found that the levels of NDMA were very high in Zantac and generic compounds of ranitidine. The testing lab showed that one Zantac contained 26,000 times the level of NDMA that is considered a safe level. The FDA learned about this problem in 2019 and sent out a warning. Several large drug store chains pulled the drug. At that time, Sanofi did not issue a recall based on safety concerns. GlaxoSmithKline is the main defendant. 

Injuries Caused By Use of Zantac

Exposure to NDMA is linked to several forms of cancer of the liver, kidney, gastric and colorectal systems. In addition to its cancer-causing ability, if the level of NDMA is high enough, the substance acts as a poison. This results in internal bleeding, liver damage and death. While not everyone who took Zantac will get cancer, the number of individuals who will is staggering. 

Lawsuits Against Sanofi

The lawsuits focus on the flawed design of the drug. This defect is related to the formation of NDMA. If you took Zantac in the past and developed cancer as well as the generic version, you may have the right to compensation. Call the Olinde Law Firm to discuss your case. They will answer your questions and give you your options ahead of time. Call us at (800) 587-1889 to begin. We are also available online.