Another class action lawsuit filed over prepulsid

A Montreal law firm has launched a class action lawsuit against pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson and its Canadian subsidiaries over the use of stomach drug prepulsid.

Jean-Nil Gardner, a 65-year-old man from Black Lake, Quebec will act on behalf of all people in Quebec who have used the drug, also known as cisapride.

Johnson & Johnson Canada and Janssen-Ortho are also named in the lawsuit.

The drug is linked to at least 25 deaths in Canada and 80 in the U.S. The drug was removed from Canadian markets August 7, 2000.

Gardner is seeking $100,000 for damage to his health and his complaint is expected to be heard in Montreal court August 7, 2001.

The Quebec lawsuit follows two lawsuits in Ontario and others in the United States over the use of prepulsid.

The drug has been at the centre of controversy over how drugs are regulated in Canada and when warnings should be sent out about adverse side effects.

The drug received widespread attention during the inquest into the death of 15-year-old Vanessa Young of Ontario. She had collapsed and died in March 2000, after taking the drug for almost a month. Young was prescribed prepulsid to deal with her digestion problems brought on by bulimia.

A coroner's jury released several recommendations last April, including making it mandatory for doctors and pharmacists to report adverse reactions to drugs within 48 hours, a process that is currently voluntary.