GSK Settles California Lawsuit Over Zantac Cancer Allegations, Avoids Trial

By John Lopez

Feb 29, 2024 09:50 AM EST

GSK has recently resolved a legal battle in California regarding allegations that its heartburn medication Zantac led to cancer, sidestepping what could have been a lengthy and costly trial.

The pharmaceutical giant announced on Thursday that it reached a confidential settlement with Boyd/Steenvoord, effectively bringing an end to the case that was scheduled to go to trial on Apr. 2. By opting for a settlement, GSK avoids protracted legal proceedings while maintaining that it does not admit any liability in the matter.

GSK Settles California Lawsuit Over Zantac Cancer Allegations, Avoids Trial
(Photo : Image via DrugWatch)
GSK resolves California legal battle over Zantac cancer allegations through a confidential settlement, avoiding trial. Faces ongoing cases amid $5 billion estimated settlement costs.

2019 Zantac Recall

The lawsuit stems from concerns raised in 2019 when some manufacturers and pharmacies halted Zantac sales due to worries that its active ingredient, ranitidine, could degrade over time into a substance called NDMA, a potential carcinogen. 

In response to these concerns, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) withdrew Zantac and its generic versions from the market in 2020, triggering a wave of legal actions against GSK.

According to the FDA, NDMA is a likely cause of cancer in humans. In 2019, the FDA became aware of independent laboratory testing that revealed NDMA in ranitidine. 

Low levels of NDMA are commonly consumed in the diet, as NDMA is found in foods and water. These low levels are not expected to increase the risk of cancer.

READ MORE: Pfizer Agrees to Pay $93 Million to Settle Lipitor Cholesterol Drug Antitrust Lawsuit

GSK Settles Another Zantac Lawsuit

While the settlement terms remain confidential, analysts estimate that GSK's total settlement costs could reach approximately $5 billion.

The company still faces many cases related to Zantac in the United States, with about 79,000 as of October, the majority of which are concentrated in Delaware. This settlement comes as a relief for GSK amid mounting legal pressure and uncertainties surrounding the future of Zantac-related litigation.

California, known for its stringent legal environment, poses a particular challenge for multinational corporations like GSK. Courts in the state are often perceived as more favorable to plaintiffs, making settlements an attractive option for companies seeking to avoid potentially unfavorable outcomes. 

By resolving the California lawsuit, GSK aims to mitigate distractions and focus on its core business activities, including developing and marketing its pharmaceutical products.

In Related News

In related news, GSK recently made strides in the field of infectious diseases with promising results from trials of its antibiotic gepotidacin. The oral antibiotic demonstrated efficacy comparable to existing treatments for gonorrhea, a sexually transmitted infection that has seen a resurgence globally. 

With drug-resistant strains of gonorrhea on the rise, gepotidacin could offer a valuable alternative for patients intolerant to current therapies or affected by resistant strains.

GSK's commitment to antibiotic development aligns with efforts to combat antimicrobial resistance, a growing public health concern worldwide. 

READ NEXT: Drugmaker Hikma, Ad Firm Publicis Agree to Pay $500 Million to Settle US Opioid Cases

© 2024 VCPOST, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

Join the Conversation

Real Time Analytics