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Pfizer has agreed to settle more than 10,00 lawsuits alleging it concealed the risk of cancer associated with its popular heartburn drug, Zantac.

Zantac, or ranitidine, is a histamine-2 blocker that works by reducing the amount of acid produced by the stomach—and has been taken by millions of people yearly since the 1980s to treat heartburn, stomach ulcers, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and conditions once thought to be caused by too much stomach acid.

Numerous companies have manufactured and marketed the drug over the years, including Glaxo Holdings, now part of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in 1983, Pfizer from 1998 to 2006, Boehringer Ingelheim, and finally Sanofi. GSK reportedly faces more than 79,000 lawsuits over the drug, and French pharmaceutical company Sanofi recently settled 4,000 lawsuits for about $100 million. People familiar with the litigation say Pfizer's deal is even bigger.

Pfizer says it will continue to “vigorously" defend itself against Zantac lawsuits, as the company believes they are not supported by reliable evidence, will “explore opportunistic settlements of certain cases,” and has already "settled certain cases.” It claims to have “substantial indemnification claims” against others and claims it will not be “materially affected” by the litigation.

Moreover, Pfizer is “confident” that its Zantac products, which were approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), did not cause cancer when used as directed.

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