When officials revealed the possible existence of a dangerous carcinogen in Zantac, many longtime users of the heartburn drug took action. Lawsuits popped up across the country, all stemming from the worrying discovery of NDMA in the drug.

Now, more than 140 of these federal lawsuits will be moving forward in a single court.

Centralizing the cases

In early February, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation opted to consolidate the dozens of federal Zantac lawsuits, according to a report. Instead of each suit moving forward individually in their respective courts, they will all proceed together in the Southern District of Florida. One judge will oversee the proceedings.

This decision includes individual lawsuits alleging personal injury, as well as class action claims seeking economic damages. Defendants include the pharmaceutical companies Sanofi-Aventis U.S., GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer and Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals Inc.

What is the point of consolidating the cases?

These Zantac lawsuits are tied together by a common allegation: That these patients bought and used the prescription drug, and were therefore exposed to NDMA, a carcinogen. By centralizing these cases, the hope is to make the process more efficient.

Rather than individual plaintiffs, lawyers, judges and courts across the country each going through the same process simultaneously, the lawsuits will all progress together in the Southern District of Florida. This can make the discovery period more efficient, for example, save time and resources, and potentially even speed up the process.

If you have taken Zantac (or Ranitidine), you may be considering a lawsuit. Those that do take legal action in the future may see their case transferred to Florida as part of the multidistrict litigation effort.