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As litigation proceeds over the Zantac heartburn pill and a possible carcinogen, a court filing contends that Sanofi (SNY) destroyed countless employee emails tied to the 2019 recall of the widely used medicine.

The “widespread destruction” has delayed the proceedings and could make it more difficult for consumers to prove Sanofi and other manufacturers knew their medicines could produce high levels of NDMA over time, according to a document filed by lawyers who represent more than 70,000 people who filed claims in federal court.


In November 2019, the Food and Drug Administration suggested companies selling ranitidine heartburn pills issue recalls after finding some contain higher than acceptable levels of NDMA, although the agency did not find evidence of the chemical formed in patient stomachs. NDMA is an organic chemical that was once used to make rocket fuel and is an unintended byproduct of certain chemical reactions. The World Health Organization considers the impurity to be a possible carcinogen.

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