Consumers claim over-the-counter heartburn medication caused cancer

A suit alleges that Pfizer, Walgreens and others failed to warn consumers of the risk of exposure to the carcinogen N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) with its over-the-counter ranitidine heart burn medicine.

Joseph Bayer and Gwendolyn Culverson filed a complaint Aug. 2 in the Madison County Circuit Court against Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals Inc., GlaxoSmithKline LLC, Pfizer Inc., Walgreen Co., Sun Pharmaceutical and others, alleging products liability, negligent misrepresentation, breach of express warranties and other claims.

According to the plaintiffs’ suit, Bayer used the over-the-counter generic heart burn drug ranitidine between 2005 and 2010, which he purchased at Walgreens. Additionally, Culverson used the over-the-counter brand name Zantac as well as generic ranitidine from 2014 through 2020, which was also purchased from Walgreens. The plaintiffs allege their use of the products caused their exposure to “high levels” of the carcinogen NDMA.

Bayer claims he developed esophageal cancer in 2010 and Culverson developed bladder and kidney cancer. The plaintiffs claim their cancers developed as a result of their taking the over-counter-drugs manufactured, sold and developed by the defendants. The plaintiffs allege the defendants were “fully aware” of the risks of ranitidine and its carcinogenic potential” as it transforms into NDMA within the body. They also allege the defendants failed to warn that ranitidine “transforms over time and under particular conditions into NDMA.

The plaintiffs seek monetary relief, interest, trial by jury and all other proper relief.

This article was first published in Madison Record.

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