March 1, 2001-Nationwide Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Drug Maker

A class-action lawsuit has been filed against two manufacturers of Propulsid by users of the drug who said they were never warned that it can cause heart damage and has been linked to more than 100 deaths. Unlike previous heartburn aids, which suppress acid secretion, Propulsid was designed to help the esophagus contract more tightly. Six law firms filed the suit against Johnson & Johnson Co. and Janssen Pharmaceutica Inc., both headquartered in New Jersey, seeking a medical monitoring trust fund and monetary damages. The suit alleges that when Propulsid first was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1993, the manufacturers aggressively marketed the drug through direct advertising to consumers and physicians. By late 1996, however, the FDA was criticizing the brochures used to promote Propulsid, saying they implied that acid suppressors were less effective and minimized the significance of potential drug interactions with Propulsid. According to the lawsuit, Propulsid is marketed to treat nocturnal heartburn due to gastroesophageal reflux disease, a disorder in which the muscles of the esophagus and stomach do not operate properly.

In 1998, the defendant companies were aware of reports that Propulsid was "cardiotoxic," and was causing heart-rhythm disorders and deaths from sudden cardiac arrest, according to the complaint. Further, the FDA issued warnings about the drug, and in January 2000 issued more-severe warnings that said patients should be given echocardiograms prior to taking Propulsid. By December 1999, the suit says, the FDA had reported 341 incidents of serious heart-rhythm abnormalities and 80 deaths associated with the drug. Since then, the suit says, another 23 Propulsid-related deaths have occurred. The suit accuses the manufacturers of failing to provide adequate warnings to consumers about the potential risk of heart disease. "Despite the drug having caused more than 100 deaths over the last seven years, defendants did not immediately withdraw Propulsid from the marketplace," the suit alleges. Instead, the company announced that it would eventually stop marketing Propulsid, but did not stop until July 14 and allowed it to be sold in pharmacies until mid-August. The suit includes claims of negligence and breach of express and implied warranty, as well as claims under the consumer protection laws of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.

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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