January 26, 2004 - California jury exonerates Novartis in two phenylpropanolamine cases

A Los Angeles jury rejected two claims that Novartis' [NVS] Triaminicin and Tavist D, which contained the over-the-counter decongestant phenylpropanolamine (PPA), were unsafe products with inadequate warnings. The jury also rejected the claim that the company concealed any material facts regarding the use of this ingredient in its cough and cold products from the plaintiffs. The jury heard two cases simultaneously beginning September 25, 2003. One concerned a Ms Lutz who brought her lawsuit after suffering a hemorrhagic stroke in 1996, and the other was brought by a Ms O'Neill following a stroke in 1995. Fundamentally, these are the first verdicts involving a number of major consumer health products manufacturers and their use of PPA in numerous cough and cold products. PPA had been used safely and effectively as a decongestant for more than 50 years. Nevertheless, all OTC products containing PPA were voluntarily removed from the market in November 2000 at the request of the FDA.

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