A Colorado man is suing several pharmaceutical companies because he says they failed to warn him that their versions of the heartburn medication Zantac contained a probable cancer-causing impurity that he believes contributed to his bladder cancer diagnosis.
Mark Allan Blake filed his lawsuit in Colorado federal court against Pfizer Inc., Sanofi US Services Inc., and other pharmaceutical companies for manufacturing ranitidine, the active ingredient in the popular acid reducer Zantac. Blake claims he started taking a prescription version of Zantac in 1996 and later transitioned to an over-the-counter version of the drug, which he took about four times a week. Last year, he was diagnosed with bladder cancer.
In September 2019, online pharmacy Valisure informed the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that it detected levels of the impurity N-Nitrosodimethylamine, or NDMA, in batches of ranitidine. NDMA has been linked to cancerous tumors in laboratory animals. When Blake learned of this discovery, he believed his use of Zantac caused him to develop bladder cancer.
NDMA is considered an environmental contaminant and can be found in trace amounts in food and water. The FDA considers 96 nanograms the maximum daily acceptable level of NDMA for humans. Blake claims Zantac can produce more than 2.5 million nanograms.
Valisure’s discovery led to the recall of dozens of ranitidine products. On April 1, the FDA called for the withdrawal of all ranitidine products on the market after finding that NDMA in ranitidine can increase to unacceptable levels when exposed to higher temperatures or the longer length of time since it was manufactured.
Some cancers that may be related to NDMA include stomach, small intestine, bladder, kidney, colorectal, esophageal, prostate, pancreatic, leukemia, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and multiple myeloma. No study has been published to date that provides any specific risk for any particular cancer.
Beasley Allen attorneys Frank Woodson and Lisa Courson are actively investigating potential claims involving regular Zantac/ranitidineuse that may have led to cancer of the stomach, colon, intestines, kidneys, bladder or pancreas. If you or a loved one may have been affected, please contact us.