Amid tens of thousands of lawsuits that are pending in state courts all across the U.S., a new report based on evidence discovered in these court cases reveals Big Pharma giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) had, for decades, concealed evidence showing that Zantac could cause cancer.
According to Bloomberg Businessweek, GSK — then known as Glaxo — had been aware of cancer-causing risks with ranitidine, the drug which was marketed as Zantac, even before it was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1983. These warnings came from independent researchers but also from Glaxo scientists.
Within five years, Zantac, used to treat or relieve heartburn, acid indigestion and gastric ulcers, became the world’s best-selling medicine and was one of the first to surpass $1 billion in annual sales, according to Reuters. GSK later sold the drug to Pfizer — and Zantac was then sold to Boehringer Ingelheim and finally Sanofi.
In 2019, an online pharmacy detected high levels of a potent carcinogen, NDMA, in Sanofi and its generic equivalents. This led to recalls, followed by a formal FDA withdrawal of the drug in 2020.
This decision was made based on “research showing the amount of NDMA in the products increases the longer the drug is stored and could potentially become unsafe,” Reuters reported, with Fierce Pharma adding that this problem was identified “even under normal storage conditions.”
According to the Bloomberg Businessweek report, the storage issues came in addition to the known risk that “under certain conditions in the stomach, ranitidine could form a potentially dangerous compound” that could cause cancer.
All four aforementioned pharmaceutical companies are now facing tens of thousands of lawsuits in state courts throughout the U.S. “Plaintiffs said the companies knew, or should have known, that ranitidine posed a cancer risk and that they failed to warn consumers,” reports Reuters.
According to Reuters, “While NDMA is found in low levels in food and water, it is known to cause cancer in larger amounts.” Zantac, accordingly, has been linked “to at least 10 types of cancer” in lawsuits that have been filed, including bladder, esophageal, liver, pancreatic and stomach cancers.
GSK continues to claim that there is “no consistent or reliable evidence” that Zantac caused cancer.
What is NDMA?
According to Bloomberg Businessweek, “NDMA, which is short for N-Nitrosodimethylamine, is a yellow liquid that dissolves in water. It doesn’t have an odor or much of a taste.” It is most toxic to the liver, and “was first linked to cancer in 1956.”
It adds that “The carcinogen, called NDMA, was once added to rocket fuel and is now used only to induce cancer in lab rats.”…