This post speculates about Zantac lawsuit settlement amounts. Yes, it is impossible to know what the average compensation payout might be in the Zantac litigation at this stage.
But projecting settlement amounts is what stock analysts and shareholders for Sanofi-Aventis, Boehringer Ingelheim, Pfizer, and GlaxoSmithKline are already doing and baking those costs into the stock price. Plaintiffs’ Zantac lawyers can do this as well.
So this post will look at the settlement amounts a Zantac lawsuit might fetch based on comparisons to other mass tort settlements involving cancer.
If you have a potential Zantac lawsuit, reach out to a lawyer – any Zantac lawyer – today. The deadline to sue may be approaching for many. The statute of limitations can be a harsh and unfair deadline. Don’s lose your right to compensation. You can contact us at 800-553-8082.
This page was last updated on January 20, 2022.
It was recently discovered that the popular heartburn drug Zantac contained a hidden carcinogenic chemical. This has led to thousands of Zantac lawsuits by people who regularly used the drug and were subsequently diagnosed with cancer. There are 1,753 lawsuits in federal court but 70,000 are unfiled but preserved under a procedural mechanism that lets people “file suit” without actually filing a Zantac lawsuit.
The Zantac lawsuits in the federal courts have been consolidated into a “class action” MDL and the first cases are expected to go to trial at the end of 2022. State court Zantac lawsuit could start before that, most likely in California.
January 2022 Update
The Zantac class action lawsuit now involves eight types of cancer: bladder, colorectal/intestinal, esophageal, gastric, liver, lung, pancreatic, and prostate. The most notable exclusions from this are breast cancer and kidney cancer. These claims are no longer being litigated in federal Zantac lawsuit.
Our Zantac cancer lawyers are now handling only five types of cancer:
December 2021 Update
Last week on Thursday and Friday, the MDL Judge in the Zantac lawsuit MDL in the Southern District of Florida held a pair of science days.
A science day is when attorneys for plaintiffs and defendants have the opportunity to educate the court about the medical and scientific evidence underlying their positions.
In the Zantac lawsuits, each party brought two medical experts to educate the judge on its view on science in these cases. Ultimately, the MDL judge absorbs all this information with an eye towards the question of whether credible science supports these Zantac cancer claims.
So for the lawyers, it is also a sneak preview of the science the judge will rule on as the lawsuit progress. How the judge views the science in these cases is the single most important issue to the ultimate settlement amounts for victims than anything else in the Zantac lawsuits. The stakes are that high.
The science day presentations try (unsuccessfully) to be non-adversarial. This science day focused on terms and concepts related to the scientific debate about the link between NDMA in Zantac and certain types of cancer. The defense position is that while NDMA might cause cancer, there was not enough in Zantac to cause cancer in individual people and their is no scientific proof that but/for Zantac, the plaintiffs would not have gotten cancer anyway. Obviously, plaintiffs’ Zantac lawyers see this issue very differently.
November 2021 Zantac Trials (Sort of) Set
In November 2021, the MDL judge finalized the process of selecting cases for initial Zantac bellwether trials has been initiated. An initial pool of 200 cases will be established from Zantac cases pending in Florida. The Florida Zantac cases have been categorized into 8 groups based on the type of cancer alleged by the plaintiff. 25 cases will be randomly selected by a computer from each of the 8 different cancer type groups. The resulting pool of 200 cases will go through a fact discovery and vetting process to eliminate cases that do not meet certain criteria. This process will be completed by August 1, 2022 at which point bellwether trial cases will be selected from the remaining pool.
About the Zantac Lawsuits
Zantac (ranitidine) is an antacid that has been around since the 1980s and was available in both prescription and over-the-counter form. GlaxoSmithKline originally developed and released Zantac but it was widely available in generic versions manufactured by various companies.
In 2018, random quality testing found that the popular drug contained very high levels of a chemical called NDMA (N-Nitrosodimethylamine). NDMA is highly toxic to the human body and is a known carcinogen. The levels of NDMA in Zantac were so high that the FDA issued a public safety warning and Zantac was promptly pulled off retail shelves across the country.
This quickly led to a wave of Zantac lawsuits by individuals claiming that their exposure to NDMA in Zantac caused them to develop cancer. Over 70,000 Zantac lawsuits have been filed and consolidated into a Zantac MDL in the District of New Jersey.
Zantac Lawsuits Should Be Resolved in a Global Settlement
At this stage, we don’t know exactly how much Zantac lawsuit individual settlement compensation payouts might be. But we can be fairly certain that they will eventually be resolved in a global settlement. This is how all consolidated mass torts eventually get resolved (if they are not dismissed – that is not an unimportant caveat).
Since the formation of the Zantac MDL in 2019, the MDL judge has presided over a consolidated civil discovery process while more Zantac cases have continued to be filed. The discovery phase has focused on the development of scientific causation evidence on both sides.
The discovery phase of the Zantac litigation will conclude next year and then the litigation will move into the bellwether trial phase. This is where jury trials are held in a handful of sample Zantac cases. The results of these test trials are used to facilitate settlement negotiations in which the defendants agree to pay a large sum for the resolution of all remaining Zantac lawsuits. In mass torts, this is referred to as a “global settlement.”
Example Zantac Lawsuit
For some context, let’s look at a newly filed Zantac lawsuit for an example of the type of facts you will see in one of these claims.
New York resident Bennett Cohen became one of the newest plaintiffs in the Zantac litigation last month. On November 19, 2021, Cohen filed a Complaint against a group of 13 defendants including both brand name Zantac manufacturers and generic ranitidine manufacturers. The Complaint was filed directly in the Zantac MDL in the Southern District of Florida.
Cohen’s Complaint alleges that he regularly used brand-name Zantac and generic ranitidine in both prescription and over-the-counter form from 1995 to 2012. Cohen alleges that his regular use of Zantac and ranitidine over this 17-year period directly led to him being diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2011.
Cohen now joins a group of 1,777 plaintiffs with pending cases in the Zantac MDL. There are over 80,000 additional prospective plaintiffs who have registered Zantac claims but have not yet filed their lawsuits. Bennett’s case was filed because the statute of limitations on his claims was set to expire.
What Will a Global Settlement in the Zantac Litigation Look Like?
Here is a simplified summary of how global settlements work out in most mass torts like the Zantac litigation. Let’s say Acme Pharmaceutical is defending 20,000 lawsuits in an MDL by plaintiffs claiming that Acme’s new drug caused them to develop cancer. After 2 years of consolidated discovery, 10 of the 20,000 cases are selected for “bellwether trials.” The plaintiffs pick 5 cases and Acme picks 5 cases.
The first 3 of these bellwether cases go to trial. The first trial resulted in a $20 million verdict for the plaintiff. The second trial results in a defense verdict. The third trial ends in a $5 million verdict. Following the 3rd trial, Acme announces that it is ready to negotiate a settlement, and the remaining trials on put on hold. 6 months later the MDL judge approves a global settlement under which Acme agrees to pay a total sum of $5 billion to settle all 20,000 pending cases.
If the $5 billion were divided evenly it would result in a gross payout of $250,000 to each plaintiff. But the settlement arrangement includes a complicated tiered points system in which each plaintiff is ranked based on the severity of their injuries. For the Zantac lawsuits, it would be length of Zantac usage, the age of the plaintiff, and other factors. Plaintiffs ranked in the highest tiers get larger payouts and those in the lower settlement tiers get smaller payouts.
This is an overly simplified example of what the global settlement in the Zantac litigation should eventually look like. The only thing we don’t know at this point is how much the defendants will have to pay out for the settlement.
The size of the Zantac settlement payout will depend on
- how many Zantac lawsuits are pending at the time (how many cancers survive pretrial motions),
- how strong the causation evidence is, and
- the results of the first bellwether ranitidine trials.
Estimated Settlement Payout Value of Zantac Claims
At this stage, it is not possible to know for certain how much the settlement payout will be for Zantac lawsuits. We can, however, make an educated guess based on settlement payouts in prior mass torts involving similar injuries (i.e., cancer from product exposure).
Based on prior settlements, we think Zantac cases in the highest settlement tiers (plaintiffs with the most types of cancer and longest use history) could get settlement payouts of around $300,000-$400,000.
Second-tier cases could see Zantac lawsuit settlement amounts in the $100,000-$175,000 range.
Cases in the third settlement tier would get less than $40,000-80,000. There could potentially be even lower settlement tiers with payments under $40,000.
Settlement Tier Estimated Settlement
Tier I $300,000 – $400,000
Tier II $80,000 – $120,000
Tier III $20,000 – $60,000
Settlements in Similar Mass Torts
Our estimated settlement payouts in the Zantac cases are based primarily on the global settlement that is currently unfolding in the Roundup mass tort litigation. The Roundup lawsuits are very comparable to the Zantac lawsuits because they both involve a consumer product that caused cancer when used over longer time periods.
There are some differences between Zantac and Roundup. For instance, Roundup was linked to a specific type of cancer (non-Hodgkin lymphoma) whereas the Zantac claims involve various types of cancer. But for the most part, these consolidated mass torts are very similar and the Roundup settlement compensation payouts make an effective point of comparison for Zantac.
Zantac Bladder Cancer Lawsuit Settlement Amounts
For Zantac bladder cancer cases, the Actos litigation with the same injury is instructive. The average settlement in that class action bladder cancer lawsuit was about $300,000. This does not mean the average Zantac bladder cancer lawsuit will be $300,000. Each litigation is different. But it is hard to ignore the similarities between the two MDL class action lawsuits.
Settlement Amounts for Generic Zantac Lawsuits
Let me be honest. I have little hope for the generic ranitidine lawsuits. The MDL judge had dismissed those claims and I’m not optimistic of their revival on appeal. I think the expected settlement amounts for those lawsuits approaches zero.
Caveats to Zantac Settlement Amount Projections
I have already made this point but I will make it again. These projected Zantac settlement amounts are just that – projected. So much can happen in this litigation. If the MDL accepts the plaintiffs’ science of the connection between Zantac and cancer generally and jurors punish these defendants like I think they would, these settlement amounts could be rather low. The MDL judge/California state court judge could dismiss all the Zantac lawsuits. Either scenario is possible.
Is Zantac Now Back on the Market?
Zantac is now back on pharmacy shelves. But there is a caveat. The new Zantact formula that uses a different active ingredient called famotidine. The new version of Zantac does not contain ranitidine, the ingredient previously found to contain the carcinogen NDMA.
Why Is There a Large Gap Between the Number of Claimants and the Number of Zantac Lawsuits Filed in the Class Action?
What confuses people is that there are less than 2,000 cases filed in the MDL as of December 2021, yet there are reported 70,000 plaintiffs in the MDL. How do you reconcile the two? The MDL judge sent up a voluntary census registry for unfiled claims. This gives the court the ability to see how many prospective plaintiffs are out there and what those claims may look like. Practically, what it means is the major law firms in the Zantac litigation report the number of potential claims to the judge.
This is why the 70,000 to 80,000 claims number that gets bounced around is likely high. Many of these cases are likely not viable claims. The benefit of such a system for Zantac lawyers is that it stops the running of the statutes of limitations and provides cost-sharing that makes it cheaper to collect medical records to see if there is a viable claim. Many attorneys who were not as high on Zantac lawsuits as our lawyers are continued to collect these cases because they figured why not given the low barriers to collecting potential plaintiffs.
What Are the Most Common Zantac Lawsuits Lawyers Are Seeing?
The most common Zantac cancer lawsuit clients we are getting have prostate cancer. In second place is colorectal cancer followed by bladder and gastric cancer.
Did the Defendants Know That Zantac Could Cause Cancer?
When Zantac came to market, there was already medical literature that Zantac, which has dimethylamine (“DMA”), could form NDMA, when combined with other substances. Specifically, nitrate that is found in our bodies could supply the “N” to turn DMA into NDMA. Bacteria and enzymes in the body reduce the nitrates found in food into nitrites and many foods and preservatives contain nitrates. So the defendant knew or should have known from the beginning that the DMA in Zantac could develop into NDMA.
How Awful Is NDMA for You?
NDMA is pure poison. This organic chemical forms in both industrial and natural processes. It is an N-nitrosamines, a family of potent carcinogens. The risk of NDMA has been long understood. More than 40 years ago we knew that NDMA caused cancer in nearly every laboratory animal that was exposed to the chemical.
Is NDMA in Zantac from a Manufacturing Error?
The high levels of NDMA from Zantac are not caused by a manufacturing defect. NDMA is a natural consequence of ingesting ranitidine, the active ingredient in Zantac. The Ranitidine molecule contains DMA and nitrate is also in Zantac and is also produced by the body. So every dosage Zantac exposed the used to NDMA.
What Types of Cancer Is Your Law Firm Handling?
Our law firm is only accepting stomach, bladder, pancreatic, liver, esophageal (for non-smokers), and esophageal cancers.
Get a Zantac Lawyer
You developed cancer and suspect Zantac, contact our attorneys at Miller & Zois today. Our lawyers can investigate your case and evaluate whether you have a viable claim. Call 800-553-8082 or reach out for free online.
- Overview of Zantac lawsuits and the premise of these claims
- Why the Zantac lawsuit is in federal court