Retracted Study on Zantac’s Contamination Doesn’t End Liability

Jul 14th, 2021 | Firm News

People take prescription medicine to treat a disease or reduce symptoms. Some drugs have known side effects that patients have to consider when determining if a course of treatment is worth the risk. Unfortunately, sometimes patients have risk for side effects that neither their physician nor the drug manufacturer warned them about beforehand.

For example, millions of people may have inadvertently consumed dangerous levels of a known carcinogen because of drug contamination. The researchers behind one of the studies that led to the recall of the drug have since retracted their article. Will that retraction affect the rights of those hurt by the medicine?

What is the issue with Zantac?

The drug Zantac is a branded version of the generic medication ranitidine. Both Zantac and many generic versions of the medicine were wildly popular and taken by millions of adults. After its meteoric rise, Zantac saw a swift decline in its use when testing showed the presence of dangerous levels of N-nitrosadimethylamine (NDMA).

Testing continued to show NDMA at likely unsafe levels, leading to a series of recalls for both brand-name and generic versions of this popular heartburn medication. Recently, researchers whose article helped start the recall have retracted their work. The retraction likely won’t alter the rights of patients who develop cancer because of NDMA exposure.

What was the issue with the study?

Researchers were quick to raise alarms when their tests of patients taking ranitidine showed levels of NDMA that were as much as 400 times what the average person would have in their body. However, they have since had to walk back their claims and ask the scientific journal that published their research to retract it.

The issue with their study was simple. They have since determined that the method they used to measure the level of NDMA excreted in people’s urine was not as accurate or reliable as they initially believed. Retracting this one study won’t really impact the safety of ranitidine, as the drug readily breaks down due to chemical instability. The risk remains for NDMA contamination in ranitidine to put patients at increased risk for developing cancer in the future.

Manufacturers have a responsibility to the public, especially if they make drugs

Pharmaceutical manufacturers should prioritize accuracy and reliability with the products they release to the public. They should also conduct enough research to know about the side effects caused by the medicine.

Failing to recognize that the formulation for Zantac couldn’t break down and produce dangerous levels of NDMA is a significant oversight. The accuracy of a single study related to this major issue will not likely impact the rights of those hurt by the drug if they develop cancer later in life.

Following the developments in product liability cases, like those involving defective drugs, can help you determine if you might have a claim because of that defective product.