Novartis AG (NVS) had come to a settlement recently in around 124 lawsuits related to Zelnorm. Novartis is a drug manufacturing company. Zelnorm is produced by Novartis and is used to treat irritable bowel system in women and chronic constipation in patients below 65 years. Novartis was facing many Zelnorm lawsuits, which were alleging the drug to be related to heart injuries.

Zelnorm is brand name for tegaserod maleate. It is used to treat constipation and irritable bowel syndrome in women. In irritable bowel syndrome abdominal pain occurs frequently with constipation or diarrhea. It is also used to treat irritable bowel syndrome in women where constipation is accompanied by severe stomach pain. It is also used to treat severe constipation in patients below 65 years of age. It acts by increasing action of serotonin in intestine. Serotonin is a chemical, which affects bowel movement. In constipation contraction in intestine is less. It helps Serotonin to increase contraction in intestine and results in relief from constipation.

Use of this drug can produce side effects such as headache, dizziness or migraine, back pain or joint pain and mild stomach pain, nausea or gas. It can also result in increased stomach pain, blood in stools, ongoing diarrhea, severe stomach pain or cramps or feeling like fainting. This drug has been related to heart injuries. It has been accused of causing heart-related injuries in patients using it. It has forced the pharmaceutical company to recall Zelnorm in 2007.

Zelnorm was approved by FDA in 2001 for treatment of irritable bowel syndrome with constipation. It side effects resulting in heart attacks and other heart related problems lead to its recall. U.S. Food and Drug Administration requested its withdrawal as a safety analysis revealed it increased the risk of heart attack, stroke and chest pain. This recall attracted numerous lawsuits against Novartis related to side effects of Zelnorm. Most of the lawsuits against Zelnorm have accused that the patients have developed heart related problems or have suffered heart attacks due to use of this drug.

Novartis only revealed the legal developments and there was no revelation regarding the settlement amount. The company kept it a secret that how much was being paid in the Zelnorm settlement. Spokespersons of the company marked the settlement as tentative and all the terms in the settlement were not disclosed. This pact led to postponement of the first trial in the Zelnorm product-liability litigation, which had been scheduled to begin in Virginia. Novartis said the tentative Zelnorm settlement was dependent on the approval of individual plaintiffs.

It also settled another legal matter, in which it was sued by an inventor in federal court for breach of a consulting contract. The lawsuit claimed that the inventor was entitled to at least a portion of settlement proceeds for the patents. The company agreed to pay $80 million to the inventor of certain patents of Novartis’s vaccines and diagnostics unit and an additional $20 million to a nonprofit research organization, which was to settle by the inventor.