Georgia man blames colon cancer on Zantac use

A Georgia man believes the heartburn drug Zantac caused him to develop colon cancer, and he wants the makers of the drug to pay up, Law360 reported.

Robert R. Pagniello filed a proposed class action lawsuit against Sanofi-Aventis US LLC and Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals Inc., alleging the companies were aware that the Zantac they manufactured and sold contained NDMA,  a probable carcinogen that has been linked to cancerous tumors in laboratory animals.

Had Pagniello known the drug’s risks, he says he wouldn’t have taken it for five years. He was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer in January 2019. Pagniello has shelled out $600,000 to pay for his hospital bills, and he continues to pay for treatment.

Pagniello’s lawsuit comes just weeks after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it was ordering the withdrawal of all prescription and over-the-counter medications containing ranitidine, the active ingredient in Zantac, because the agency determined that NDMA was present in the drugs, and that the levels of the impurity could increase significantly when stored at higher temperatures or the longer it sat on store shelves. These conditions could raise the levels of NDMA above what the FDA considers acceptable daily levels.

NDMA is an environmental contaminant found in water and foods. Research has found that NDMA can induce tumors in laboratory rats. Some cancers that may be related to NDMA exposure include stomach, small intestine, bladder, kidney, colorectal, esophageal, prostate and pancreatic cancers, leukemia, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and multiple myeloma.

Boehringer sold Zantac from 2006 to 2017 before selling it to Sanofi. Pagniello’s suit names both drug makers.

Dozens of consumers are holding Zantac manufacturer Sanofi and other makers of ranitidine accountable, and have filed lawsuits against Big Pharma for putting profits ahead of patients.

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