A Medicaid and Medicare claims recovery service filed a proposed Florida class action lawsuit seeking $124 million from drug companies Aurobindo Pharma and Heritage Pharmaceuticals alleging their generic metformin products contained a probable human carcinogen, Law360 reported.

MSP Recovery Claims Services LLC, filed the lawsuit as an assignee for several health care benefit providers, claiming both Aurobindo and Heritage knew their metformin products contained elevated levels of N-nitrosodimethylamine, or NDMA, an impurity shown to cause cancerous tumors and liver damage in laboratory animals.

NDMA in metformin was detected by independent online pharmacy Valisure, the same company that last fall identified high levels of NDMA in ranitidine, the active ingredient in the heartburn drug Zantac and generics.

In fact, independent testing found Heritage’s metformin to contain up to 8.6 times the amount the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) deems acceptable for daily human consumption. Yet, the companies misled the FDA that its products were manufactured following quality standards.

“Simply put, no doctor would prescribe, no patient would consume, and no insurance company would pay for, a drug that contained NDMA, a probable human carcinogen,” MSP said in its complaint. “Plaintiff’s assignors and the class members would not have continued paying for the drugs if they had known the drugs were adulterated, which meant the drugs could not lawfully be sold or distributed, and were, therefore, worthless.”

MSP’s assignors include Group Health Inc., Health Insurance Plan of Greater New York/EmblemHealth, Summacare Inc., and Connecticare Inc. The companies allegedly paid the drug companies about $124 million since 2012 for generic metformin, which includes metformin products that contained NDMA.

Metformin is the first-line treatment of type 2 diabetes, and the fourth-most prescribed drug in the U.S., according to MSP’s complaint.

While Beasley Allen is not currently accepting metformin claims, 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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