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US Federal Court Dismisses Cancer Linkage Associated with Zantac (Ranitidine)

The US district in Florida dismissed almost 2,500 lawsuits alleging links between heartburn medication Zantac (Ranitidine) and cancer. The judge said that almost 2,500 lawsuits filed in federal court by plaintiffs were based on flawed science and that the only reliable testing of the blockbuster drug undertaken showed an ‘unprovable risk of cancer’.

The recent decision of the US district court to slap down the long pending cancer litigation over Zantac (ranitidine) has assured that science prevails over propaganda. The ruling has dismissed thousands of lawsuits saying that no science-driven sound scientific evidence establishes a link between Zantac and cancer. The ruling concludes that consumers used flawed science to back up lawsuits filed in federal court blaming Zantac for causing a variety of cancers. The experts couldn’t show legitimate links between the product and the diseases, which include lung, liver and kidney cancer. 

Ranitidine has been in existence for over four decades and has been on the WHO list of essential medicines for several years. There is enough real-world evidence data on product efficacy and safety. Patients all over the world have been consuming Ranitidine.

Speaking on the latest dismissal of lawsuits by the US Federal Court alleging links between Ranitidine and cancer and the safe use of Ranitidine, and its efficacy, Dr J. R. Mahapatra Gastroenterologist, Peerless Hospital & B. K. Roy Research Centre, Kolkata said, “The latest dismissal of lawsuits alleging links between heartburn medication Zantac (Ranitidine) and cancer is based on science. Ranitidine for decades has been found to be quite efficacious to decrease stomach acid production and safe too. I have been prescribing Ranitidine since 1990 to patients.”

Also, in India, when the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) dropped 26 medicines from the list including Zantac (ranitidine), the government officials clarified that there are no side-effects, but other parameters like the cost-effectiveness and availability of better drugs were the reasons for the drugs to be taken down from NLEM list. Molecules like atenolol, erythromycin, ranitidine and many more which are out of NLEM have been safe and efficacious for more than four decades. There are no side effects or cancer concerns with these molecules as recently stated in international studies as well. 

Denying the side effects or cancer concerns, Dr Y K Gupta – Professor, Vice Chairman of the Standing National Committee on Medicines & Health Care Products, also said, “There were some concerns raised by the USFDA which are still not established about the possibility of NDMA in Ranitidine. One must be clear about it – this is yet not very established and therefore there is no cause for concern or panic at all.”

The ruling was a significant win for the pharmaceutical companies GSK, Pfizer, Sanofi and Boehringer Ingelheim. The positive ruling should remove a large portion of the potential liability linked to the Zantac litigation, which was feared to be tens of billions of dollars of personal injury awards if claimants had proved a link with cancer.

The latest lawsuit shows that there is no strong science-backed evidence about the link between Zantac and cancer, which is a positive move that might help restore generic medicines in the market. 




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