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J&J Unit Settling Heartburn Med Lawsuit

Feb 5, 2004 | AP

Johnson & Johnson's Janssen Pharmaceutica unit Thursday said it would pay between $69.5 million and $90 million to settle lawsuits stemming from its Propulsid drug, a heartburn medicine that was pulled off shelves in 2000.

In addition, Janssen is paying up to $37.5 million for administrative and legal fees for the plaintiffs' committee, which represents about 4,000 people, of which 300 allegedly died from the use of the drug.

The Food and Drug Administration has warned that Propulsid could cause irregular heartbeats and sudden death.

The settlement requires approval by at least 85 percent of the death claims and 75 percent of the remaining plaintiffs, according to Johnson & Johnson and the plaintiffs' committee.

Aside from the 4,000 plaintiffs already covered by the committee, there are 12,000 people who haven't filed lawsuits, but must agree to participate in the settlement before it becomes effective.

The agreement requires all participating plaintiffs to submit medical records to a court-appointed medical panel, who will determine whether Propulsid caused the injuries.

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