Pfizer Inc. has been hit with a proposed class action lawsuit over claims that the pharmaceutical company should have known that its heartburn drug Zantac was contaminated with a “carcinogenic and liver-damaging impurity” but failed to warn consumers, according to Law360. At least two other similar lawsuits have been filed, one in Florida and another in Colorado.

In her complaint, New Jersey resident Dana Viola alleges that had she known the Zantac she had been taking since 2004 was contaminated with a possible cancer-causing chemical, she would have never bought the medication in the first place.

Pfizer received approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2004 to market an over-the-counter version of Zantac, which contains the active drug ingredient ranitidine. Pfizer was the primary manufacturer of the drug for years.

Viola claims that the company should have known that Zantac was contaminated with N-nitrosodimethylamine, or NDMA. She claims the drug became contaminated with the impurity through improper manufacturing practices, and that Pfizer withheld this information from consumers until last fall, when the FDA issued a safety communication.

Sanofi-Aventis U.S. now owns the rights to Zantac. The company recalled the medication in October after the FDA issued a warning that it had detected NDMA in several ranitidine-containing drugs. Several other drug makers issued recalls of their ranitidine-containing products as well.

Viola’s proposed class action seeks to represent U.S. residents who have purchased Zantac, as well as a subclass of all New Jersey residents who have purchased the drug.

Zantac is one of the most widely used drugs in history with $1 billion in gross sales since 1986.

Beasley Allen attorney Frank Woodson is actively investigating potential claims involving regular Zantac/ranitidine use 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.

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