(Reuters) — Shares in GSK, Sanofi and Haleon fell sharply on Thursday, following declines earlier this week, amid rising investor considerations about U.S. litigation centered on a heartburn drug that contained a possible carcinogen.
Round 1400 GMT, GSK shares had been down 6.8%, Sanofi’s had been down 6.9% and Haleon’s down 5.6%.
GSK and Sanofi at numerous factors bought the drug — initially branded as Zantac — which U.S. regulators ordered off the market in 2020. Haleon, spun out as an impartial listed firm final month, contains client well being property as soon as partly owned by GSK.
The prospect of impending litigation shouldn’t be new. Amongst different disclosures, the recently-listed Haleon had highlighted the danger of such lawsuits in its prospectus.
The subject has “arrived in investor consciousness in latest days it appears however been rumbling on within the background for a couple of years,” Deutsche Financial institution analysts wrote in a observe.
Zantac grew to become the world’s best-selling medication in 1988 and one of many first-ever medicine to prime $1 billion in annual gross sales.
Nonetheless, considerations across the compound — recognized chemically as ranitidine — containing potential cancer-causing impurities began to emerge in 2018, effectively after generic variations of the drugs had been launched by quite a lot of producers.
Greater than 2,000 authorized circumstances associated to Zantac have been filed in the USA, analysts say, with the primary trial starting later this month.