What happened Shares of Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) slipped 3.3% lower as of the market close on Thursday. The decline resulted from investors' concerns about litigation related to Zantac. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) called for the heartburn drug to be pulled from the market in 2020 due to safety concerns.
Shares of pharmaceutical company GSK (NYSE: GSK) -- formerly known as GlaxoSmithKline -- are down 9.4% as of 2:01 p.m. ET Thursday, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence, up slightly from an early intraday loss of 9.9%. The sell-off stems from reports of potential litigation regarding ulcer and acid reflux treatment ranitidine, better known as Zantac. After being sold for years, Zantac and other brand names of ranitidine were removed from the U.S. market by the FDA in early 2020 due to concerns the treatment could cause cancer.
What seems to have happened is that Haleon, the recently spun off consumer products bit of GSK, issued a prospectus on June 30. In it, Haleon noted that there are lawsuits outstanding in the US around Zantac: the over-the-counter heartburn drug was pulled from sale in 2019 after the FDA raised safety concerns. Litigants claim the drug causes cancer and that makers including Sanofi, Pfizer and GSK didn’t do enough to warn customers.