Johnson has been showered by numerous lawsuits related to harmful side effects of Propulsid including heart problems such as heart arrhythmia and heart attack. Jury ruled in favor Johnson and Johnson in Louisiana in 2003, but several other cases were ruled against the pharmaceutical giant. Johnson and Johnson was asked to pay $100 million to ten claimants in a class action lawsuit in 2001.  Later an appeal was filed and finally the amount was reduced to  $48 million. This verdict has boosted morale of many a claimant.

Propulsid is brand name for cisapride. It comes in both tablets and suspension. Propulsid contains Cisapride as main active ingredient. Propulsid or Cisapride is used for treatment of heartburn, which occurs due to gastric reflux. It regulates the acid level in esophagus. Cisapride increases the rate of digestion. It also increases bowel movements and strengthens the muscle between stomach and esophagus.

Use of Propulsid has been linked to many severe side effects. One of the most fatal side effects of this drug is heart problems including heart arrhythmia and heart attack. It has also linked to death in infants and children due to cardiac arrhythmia.

In 2004 Johnson & Johnson came with an offer of settlement of up to $90 million. The company tried to close all the federal lawsuits related to side effects of Cisapride through this settlement. In February, Johnson & Johnson offered between $69.5 million and $90 million to the plaintiffs for settlement of all federal Propulsid lawsuits. The final amount would be dependent on the number of plaintiffs agreeing to the terms of the settlement. It also agreed to provide up to $15 million for a fund. This fund would look after the settlement of class action lawsuits. It also became ready to provide up to $22.5 million for legal fees for the plaintiffs’ steering committee.

Propulsid was manufactured by Janssen pharmaceutical. Janssen is a subsidiary of well-known pharmaceutical giant Johnson and Johnson. It was approved by FDA in 1993. It contains Cisapride as its main active ingredient. Cisapride was discovered by Janssen in 1980. It stormed the market after its approval. It is prescribed for treatment of heartburn, which is a resultant of gastric reflux.

It became one of the most famous drugs for treatment of gastric reflux or acid reflux. Many patients suffered from severe heart arrhythmia while using this medicine. Many reports of death due to heart arrhythmia after use of Propulsid also surfaced. Janssen updated Propulsid label many times with added information related to its risks. But even then reports of severe side effects and deaths kept pouring in.

Even FDA announced about risk of heart arrhythmia after use of Propulsid in 2000. This led Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceutical, manufacturer of Propulsid, to recall this drug from the market voluntarily.

But in 2001 around 400 individuals filed lawsuit against Janssen related to sever side effects or death due to use of Propulsid. After recall of the drug Janssen made it available through an investigational limited access program. Through this program only those patients may get Propulsid who fulfill the eligibility criteria and fail to get any other treatment option. Even these patients get Propulsid as a last resort.