(Alliance News) - GSK PLC on Monday welcomed the dismissal of a case in the US concerning the heartburn drug, Zantac, which was due to start on Monday.

The London-based pharmaceutical manufacturer noted the plaintiff's voluntary dismissal of the Zantac case, Kasza, which was scheduled to start trial in Illinois state court.

GSK said it did not settle Kasza's claim and has not paid anything in exchange for the voluntary dismissal.

Following the 16 epidemiological studies looking at human data regarding the use of ranitidine, the scientific consensus is that there is no consistent or reliable evidence that ranitidine increases the risk of any cancer, GSK remarked.

"GSK will continue to vigorously defend itself and manage this litigation in the best interests of the company and shareholders," it said in a statement.

Zantac was a heartburn drug that was pulled off the market in 2020 at the request of the US Food & Drug Administration, after low levels of a "probable carcinogen" were found in samples. The carcinogen, known as NDMA, is not harmful in very small amounts. However, tests showed that there were excessive quantities of NDMA in ranitidine, otherwise known as Zantac. Multiple litigations have followed.

Last Monday, shares in GSK plunged after an adverse court ruling, also concerning Zantac.

A Delaware judge allowed more than 70,000 lawsuits over the discontinued drug to go forward to trial, ruling that expert witnesses can testify in court that the drug may cause cancer.

But the London-based pharmaceutical manufacturer said the decision by the state court contradicts the federal court's multi-district litigation ruling under the same legal standard, which dismissed all cases alleging five cancer types, in December 2022.

"Scientific consensus is that there is no consistent or reliable evidence that ranitidine increases the risk of any cancer, and GSK will continue to vigorously defend itself against all claims," the company said in a statement.

GSK pointed out the litigation in Delaware remains at an early stage, and the ruling, under the Daubert standard, relates only to the question of whether the methodology used by plaintiffs' experts is sufficiently reliable to allow them to present their evidence at trial.

"The ruling does not mean that the court agrees with plaintiffs' experts' scientific conclusions, and it does not determine liability," GSK noted.

Shares in GSK fell 0.7% to 1,617.00 pence each in London on Monday.

By Jeremy Cutler, Alliance News reporter

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