“The first Zantac lawsuits were filed in the fall of 2019 by two separate individuals. The first case was filed in Florida state court and the second in Colorado. By January 2020, proposed class actions against the manufacturers of the drug were filed in two separate federal courts. In February of 2020, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (“JPML”) consolidated the litigation in the Southern District of Florida to U.S. District Judge Robin L. Rosenberg. As of the date of publication, there are state court consolidated proceedings in California and other venues across the country.
CF: What would you say the major challenges to the Zantac litigation are?
BF: One major challenge is the number of defendants and manufacturers involved in Zantac. Zantac launched in the 1980s as a brand-name prescription drug. Over time, patent protection went away and generic manufacturers entered the market.
Once generics were available to consumers, Zantac became an over-the-counter product. So, in addition to the generic prescription manufacturers, there were a variety of OTC Zantac-branded products in addition to store brands, like Walmart’s Equate products.
As a result, there were dozens of defendants in the litigation. Trying to track each manufacture, how they store the product and how exposure to heat results in NDMA is challenging to say the least.”
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