The best-selling heartburn drug could cause cancer

Zantac, the renitidine-based drug used until a few years ago in the treatment of gastritis and ulcers, ended up at the center of controversy and a legal dispute. The pharmaceutical product, manufactured and distributed by various multinationals – including Sanofi, GSK, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer and Boehringer Ingelheim, has been withdrawn in recent years by numerous health authorities on suspicion of carcinogenic effects. Zantac became the best-selling drug in the world in 1988 and one of the first drugs ever to exceed $ 1 billion in annual sales.

The heartburn medication contains N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), which is considered a probable carcinogen. Pharmaceutical companies claim that within Zantac there is only a small amount of this compound, the same contained in grilled and smoked meats.

However, there is a problem for those who have sued the drug’s manufacturers. Plaintiffs cannot prove that they have purchased the drug unless they have a tax receipt, such as a receipt issued at the time of purchase at a retail store or pharmacy. More than two thousand lawsuits have been filed in the federal court in West Palm Beach, Florida. The first lawsuits launched in the United States against the sale of Zantac, UBS recalls, will be discussed in California in early 2023.

The case threatens to undermine the already bad reputation of Big Pharma. Distributors and manufacturers of the drug recorded a thud on the Paris Stock Exchange for Sanofi and in London for GlaxoSmithKline. The fears of investors are that the situation of Bayer and its subsidiary Monsanto could be repeated, when the case of the Roundup herbicide containing carcinogens broke out: the dispute with the plaintiffs was resolved only thanks to a large economic outlay.

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About Eric Wilson

The variety offered by video games never ceases to amaze him. He loves OutRun's drifting as well as the contemplative walks of Dear Esther. Immersing himself in other worlds is an incomparable feeling for him: he understood it by playing for the first time in Shenmue.

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