March 28, 2001-Hundreds Sue Drug Maker

Hundreds of New Orleans area residents have sued the makers of two prescription medications pulled from the market last year after the Food and Drug Administration linked them to multiple deaths.

The lawsuits, similar to injury litigation pending in other states, seek damages from Parke-Davis Pharmaceuticals, maker of the diabetes drug Rezulin, and Janssen Pharmaceutica Inc., maker of the heartburn drug Propulsid. Both drugs were taken off the market last year. At the time, the FDA announced that Rezulin had been linked to heart problems, 89 cases of liver failure and 62 deaths. Propulsid was linked to 80 deaths because of heart-rhythm abnormalities. "There are more deaths than that now," said the attorney representing many of the New Orleans-area plaintiffs. "And there's going to be more." The suits allege that the companies knew of the risks the drugs posed, but downplayed them during FDA approval and failed to warn the public of the dangers.

Officials from Janssen, owned by Johnson & Johnson, declined to comment. Parke-Davis officials did not return a telephone call for comment. The suits, including claims by families of at least two patients who died using Rezulin, allege that the companies did not disclose evidence of "significant liver damage and heart disease" among Rezulin's clinical trial participants or "significant heart rhythm disorders and heart damage" among Propulsid's clinical trial participants.

Nearly 100 million prescriptions for Propulsid were sold before Janssen voluntarily took the drug off the market. About 500,000 Americans were taking Rezulin for type 2 diabetes when the FDA pulled it from the market. The agency had been facing heavy criticism for approving the drug despite concerns about its safety and for allowing it to stay on the market after patients began to fall ill. The suits also name several local pharmacies that dispensed the drugs.

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury as a result of taking any drug or supplement, call Law Offices of Robert Dourian now at 800-790-8856 or CLICK HERE TO SUBMIT A SIMPLE CASE FORM. The initial consultation is free of charge, and if we agree to review your case, we will work on a contingent fee basis, which means we get paid for our services only if there is a monetary award or recovery of funds. Don't delay! You may have a valid claim and be entitled to compensation for your injuries, but a lawsuit must be filed before the statute of limitations expires.

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