In 1988, Zantac became the world’s top-selling medication, exceeding $1 billion in sales. Physicians frequently recommended the drug to treat heartburn, stomach ulcers and GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease). In 2020, the FDA ordered the removal of all Zantac products from the marketplace due to concerns that one of the ingredients is a potential carcinogen. Since then, tens of thousands of product liability lawsuits have been filed, one of which was recently settled out of court in California.
Prescription-strength Zantac was manufactured by GSK, a pharmaceutical company based overseas. The company has stated that settling several lawsuits out of court is not an admission of guilt. It’s estimated that GSK will pay out more than $5 billion in settlement agreements by the end of the first fiscal quarter in 2024. The company is hopeful that the removal of these cases from court dockets will prevent tens of thousands of plaintiffs who have upcoming court dates in the United States from making greater settlement demands.
Product liability exists when negligence causes consumer injuries
Consumers who take over-the-counter or prescribed medications in this country can reasonably assume that all available precautions have been taken to ensure their safety. A manufacturer of a pharmaceutical drug or any other product is obligated to make sure there are no known hazards associated with using the product, or that potential harmful effects are disclosed through proper labeling. Manufacturing a product that causes cancer or can have other potential harm to its users may give the users grounds for legal recourse.
If someone in California or elsewhere suffers injuries because of normal use of a legal drug or product, they may file a product liability claim in civil court. To prevail in such a case, a plaintiff must prove that the defendant failed in a duty of care because of negligence, which was the proximate cause of the damage that occurred. When it comes to products liability there may also be other options for financial recovery. An experienced personal injury attorney can provide much-needed legal support throughout proceedings.