(Reuters) — The plaintiff in the first trial over the heartburn drug Zantac scheduled to go to trial has agreed to drop his case, according to his lawyer and the drug maker named as the defendant.
Tuesday’s news came days after shares in GlaxoSmithKline PLC, Sanofi SA, Pfizer Inc. and Haleon PLC were hit by heightened investor concern over thousands of lawsuits alleging the drug, which U.S. regulators pulled from the market in 2020, causes cancer.
The first trial in one of those lawsuits had been scheduled to begin Monday in Illinois state court. The plaintiff, Joseph Bayer, claimed he developed esophageal cancer by taking over-the-counter Zantac.
Alexandra Walsh, a lawyer for Bayer, said her client could not proceed for “personal health reasons”; but was entitled to file his case within a year.
Originally marketed by a predecessor of GSK, Zantac has been sold by several companies at different times, including Pfizer, Boehringer Ingelheim and Sanofi, as well as a host of generic drugmakers.
Haleon, which spun off as an independent company last month, comprises consumer healthcare assets once owned by GSK and Pfizer.
GSK and Boehringer Ingelheim said they had not paid anything in exchange for the voluntary dismissal of the Bayer case.
Separately on Tuesday, Bloomberg reported that a handful of generics companies including Teva, Perrigo, Sun Pharmaceutical Industries and Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories agreed to settle with Mr. Bayer paid a total of more than $500,000 before the case was set to go to trial, according to people familiar with the deal.