Pfizer, GSK, others face negligence suits over Zantac carcinogen testing

Zantac
The lawsuit accused the three drugmakers of refusing to perform the proper testing on Zantac each year. (Sanofi)

Drugmakers are scrambling to pull Zantac off the shelves after a possible carcinogen was found in the heartburn med’s API. Now, a suite of federal lawsuits are claiming four companies declined to test their versions of the drug for the compound.

In a federal suit filed last week in California, attorneys for Walter Hantsen accused Sanofi, GlaxoSmithKline and Boehringer Ingelheim of misleading consumers about the dangers of generic and branded Zantac after they “deliberately crafted their label, marketing, and promotion” to downplay the potential health risks for patients.

A separate lawsuit in Colorado also pegged Pfizer as one of the defendants. A fifth company, Chattem, was also named in the suits.

“This was not done by accident or through some justifiable negligence,” Hantsen's attorneys wrote. “Rather, Defendants knew that it could turn a profit by convincing consumers that Zantac was harmless to humans, and that full disclosure of the true risks of Zantac would limit the amount of money Defendants would make selling Zantac.”

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The lawsuits accused the drugmakers of being aware that a nitrosamine impurity called N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) could be located in trace amounts in Zantac if proper testing was done, and of refusing to perform the proper testing each year.

Hantsen allegedly took a generic form of Zantac for nine years before being diagnosed with cancer, his attorneys wrote.

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