Following a decision late last year by the federal judge in charge of the Zantac MDL that dismissed over 2,450 lawsuits and 150,000 claims, generic makers of the heartburn drug are asking the judge to issue a final judgment that would toss out claims against them in the MDL.
U.S. District Judge Robin L. Rosenberg’s Dec. 6 order dismissed claims against brand-name Zantac manufacturers but did not cover the generic version of the drug, which also goes by the name of its active ingredient, ranitidine.
According to Law360.com, generic makers of the drug say that no arguments presented by the plaintiffs are unique to generic versions of the drug. "Ranitidine is ranitidine, regardless of its outside packaging. The indications for use and pharmacology are the same, the molecular structure is the same, the studies analyzing it are the same, and the epidemiology is the same," the generic makers’ motion reads.
Judge Rosenberg dismissed the Zantac MDL because she found that the evidence presented by 11 plaintiff expert witnesses was unreliable in its methodology, and therefore, did not establish general causation. As a result, claims against Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, Sanofi, and Boehringer Ingelheim were dismissed.
Zantac litigation centers around the molecular structure of ranitidine altering into a potentially carcinogenic substance, N-Nitrosodimethylamine or NDMA, when exposed to temperatures above room temperature (68-72 degrees Fahrenheit). Plaintiffs allege that they developed cancer due to long-term use of Zantac and that levels of NDMA in the drug far exceeded the safe limit set by the FDA. The FDA pulled Zantac from the market in April 2020.
If Judge Rosenberg agrees to toss the claims against the generic makers, it will mark the second time she will have agreed to dismiss claims against them, previously doing so in July 2021. At the time, Judge Rosenberg did not issue a final judgment.
Judge Rosenberg’s dismissal of the MDL does not cover Zantac lawsuits filed in state courts. In January, a panel of New York judges agreed to hold pretrial hearings for 40 Zantac cases filed in that state.