The first plaintiff scheduled to go to trial against drug manufacturers for the heartburn medication Zantac Tuesday dropped his suit. Joseph Bayer, who claimed Zantac (also known as ranitidine) caused him to develop esophageal cancer, told the court and drug manufacturers that he intended to file a notice of voluntary dismissal. Notably, there was no settlement reached between Bayer and the drug manufacturers.
Bayer was one of approximately 3,000 plaintiffs who filed personal injury cases against Zantac drug manufacturers, including GSK. Among the cases is a federal suit in Florida for product liability in which plaintiffs claim that Zantac consumption resulted in bladder, esophageal, gastric, liver and pancreatic cancers. Additionally, there are state court cases filed against GSK in California and Illinois set to begin in February 2023. Bayer’s case was set to begin Monday in an Illinois state court.
Bayer’s attorney Alexandra Walsh told Reuters her client was unable to proceed for “personal health reasons,” but retained the right to refile his case within a year.
US regulators in the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) pulled Zantac from store shelves in 2020 after an investigation revealed some of the products were contaminated with high levels of N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA). The FDA describes NDMA as a “probable human carcinogen,” which can cause cancer if consumed. Though GSK is one of the primary sellers of Zantac, the drug has also been sold by Pfizer, Boehringer Ingelheim and Sanofi, among other companies.