GSK et al file appeal of Delaware’s Zantac order

GSK and other drugmakers wasted no time in appealing a Delaware court’s ruling allowing more than 70,000 Zantac-related lawsuits to proceed.

A little over a week ago, Delaware Superior Court Judge Vivian Medinilla issued an order ruling that cases claiming Zantac (ranitidine) could cause cancer were “admissible,” triggering a sell-off of the stock of GSK which erased billions from its market capitalization.

Today, the drugmaker and its co-defendants, including Pfizer, Sanofi and Boehringer Ingelheim, filed a motion to bring the case to the Delaware Supreme Court for “interlocutory” review – an appeal filed before the claims be resolved – calling for the lawsuits to be dismissed before they can be heard.

In a statement, GSK acknowledged that this type of scrutiny is generally only permitted in exceptional circumstances, but added that it “believes that such circumstances are present here.”

GSK and other pharmaceutical companies that have sold ranitidine products over the years have so far successfully fended off litigation, with victories in the United States and Canada, and the Delaware ruling was considered as a major setback for their position.

For its part, GSK insisted that there is “no consistent or reliable evidence that ranitidine increases the risk of cancer”, adding: “There are 16 epidemiological studies examining human data regarding the use of the ranitidine, including results from over a million people. patients using ranitidine, supporting this consensus.

At the heart of the Delaware cases is the interpretation of the Daubert standard, which provides a framework for a trial judge to evaluate the reliability and relevance of an expert’s testimony.

Judge Medinilla wrote in her opinion that the experts sent to provide evidence by the plaintiffs were “serious scientists” and that it would be inappropriate to characterize them as “poseurs or witnesses for hire.”

That’s not the case, GSK asserts, arguing that the order is inconsistent with how the Daubert standard has already been applied in Delaware and federal courts and could have “profound implications” for all corporations and businesses. incorporated in the State.

If the Superior Court rejects the application to take it to the Supreme Court, GSK and the other defendants said they would seek leave to appeal directly to the High Court.

Zantac was created by GSK and launched by the company in the early 1980s, which sold it as a prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) product for indications such as heartburn and acid indigestion over the years.

Sanofi had the rights to the OTC version of the drug that was recalled in 2019 due to possible NDMA contamination, and it was also sold in generic form by several other producers.

The appeal was filed as a separate lawsuit filed by plaintiff Eugenia Kasza was dismissed before it could go to trial in Illinois. GSK said it had not settled Ms Kasza’s claim and paid nothing in return for the voluntary dismissal.

Photo by Jent Jiang on Unsplash