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Sanofi wins product liability class action

Date Closed

May 11, 2023

Lead Office



1.00 Billion CAD

On May 11, 2023, the B.C. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the defendants in a class action relating to Zantac. It was alleged that Zantac contained NDMA, which was alleged to increase the risk of cancer. On behalf of the class, the plaintiff sought damages for mental distress (as a result of learning about the recall), medical monitoring, recovery of health care costs, economic loss for the purchase price of the product, and general damages for increased risk of harm and cellular change.

The judge dismissed the plaintiff’s certification application and granted summary judgment, dismissing the case on the merits. However, the litigation in this matter is continuing, and the decision is now under appeal.

On summary judgment, the judge reviewed the extensive expert evidence, and agreed with the defendants that there was “uncontroverted evidence” that neither ranitidine nor NDMA are reliably associated with increased cancer risk, and an “absence of evidence” that ranitidine or NDMA cause cancer in humans. The judge concluded that the plaintiff’s claim was for the risk of contracting cancer, but not for an injury that manifested in actual injury and that that there is no claim at law for damages for harm for “increased risk”, and that potential future injuries are not compensable.

McCarthy Tétrault represented Sanofi with a team led by Michel Gagné and Caroline Zayid that included Byron Shaw, Alexandra Cocks, Emmanuelle Poupart, Andrée-Anne Labbé, Samuel Lepage, Amanda Iarusso, Nicholas Trottier (MT>3), Christian Spillane and Milica Pavlovic.