The first Zantac lawsuit that was set to begin in a California state court on Feb. 27 was rescheduled for July, as the judge overseeing the case deliberates over what expert testimony to admit. 

The lawsuit brought forth by plaintiff James Goetz alleges that the active ingredient in Zantac, ranitidine, caused him to develop bladder cancer. Tens of thousands of similar Zantac cancer lawsuits consolidated in federal multidistrict litigation (MDL) and those claims were dismissed in early Dec. 2022 by the judge overseeing the MDL, due to what she ruled to be “flawed” and “unreliable” evidence. 

Goetz’s lawsuit was filed at the state level, where Zantac lawsuits have not been summarily dismissed as they have been in the MDL. Plaintiffs allege that the popular heartburn drug discontinued in 2020 had an inherent chemical instability that caused the drug to break down into unacceptably-high levels of a compound called N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA). NDMA is considered carcinogenic at high levels.

Zantac litigation names as defendants the manufacturers and owners of the drug at various points in time. These manufacturers include:

  • Boehringer Ingelheim
  • GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)
  • Patheon Manufacturing Services
  • Pfizer
  • Sanofi

The lawsuit also names several generic makers of the drug as defendants. Generic ranitidine makers have requested that claims against them be summarily dismissed by the judge presiding over the MDL, Judge Robin L. Rosenberg. 

Sanofi and Pfizer settled with Goetz in his state lawsuit in late December 2022. However, GSK did not reach an agreement with the plaintiff. Alameda County Superior Court Judge Evelio Grillo will preside over Goetz’s trial against GSK. Judge Grillo is currently weighing which expert witness testimony will be allowed in the trial, hence the trial’s postponement, which is now scheduled to begin on July 24. 

In addition to California, Zantac plaintiffs have filed claims in several other states, including Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee.