Ahead of high-stakes California trial, GSK notches Zantac win in Canada

As GSK's July court date nears for a key Zantac trial in California, the company can wipe its hands of at least one Canadian class-action suit. 

The company said in a Friday statement that it “welcomes the decision” of the British Columbia Supreme Court to dismiss a proposed class action suit on behalf of Canadian Zantac users.

A Vancouver man filed the lawsuit in 2020, alleging that his use of the heartburn med from 2018 to 2019 caused him to develop cancer. His complaint named more than a dozen companies as defendants, including Sandoz Canada and GSK.

But the court dismissed the case due to “the uncontroverted evidence that neither ranitidine nor NDMA are reliably associated with increased cancer risk,” GSK said in its statement. 

Zantac is ranitidine’s brand name and much of the Zantac cases revolve around reports of N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) contamination in the products. Health Canada started investigating the potential impurity in 2019.

The company said that it will continue to “vigorously defend” against proposed class action lawsuits filed by Zantac users in Ontario and Quebec, along with individual actions filed across Canada.

In the U.S., GSK and other drugmakers escaped tens of thousands of Zantac-related lawsuits in December when a federal judge ruled that the claims in the federal multidistrict litigation weren’t sound.

That decision didn’t affect litigation at play in state courts, including the upcoming California trial. In that case, a California judge in March ruled to allow expert testimony to proceed. Now, both parties can call on their expert witnesses in the July trial.