May 14, 2004 - Drug verdict dismissed

The Mississippi Supreme Court has thrown out a $48.5 million verdict against the makers of the heartburn drug Propulsid in a case brought by 10 patients who claimed the medication caused heart problems and anxiety attacks.

The Court said the 10 plaintiffs should not have been grouped together because their claims were too dissimilar. The plaintiffs were prescribed Propulsid "by different physicians in different amounts for different ailments," one Justice wrote. They were also given the prescriptions at different times, "thus falling under different labels and different warnings". The court ordered separate trials for each plaintiff.

The Food and Drug Administration has linked Propulsid to 80 deaths in the United States. In 2000, it warned that the drug could cause irregular heartbeats and sudden death and should be used only as a last resort for patients given heart tests to ensure they are at a low risk for side effects.


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