Drug maker Teva has agreed to pay $285 million to settle cases alleging that oversized vials of the anesthetic propofol caused an outbreak of hepatitis C in 2008. The settlement resolves over 80 lawsuits involving more than 150 patients at endoscopy clinics in Southern Nevada who developed hepatitis C. Health officials linked the outbreak to contamination of propofol vials. Teva had lost three consecutive 9-figure cases in front of juries before it agreed to this settlement.
Lawsuits filed by the patients alleged that the drug maker made large 50 ml and 100 ml vials to save money even though it knew that clinics performing minor surgeries would double-dip into the same vials for multiple procedures and cause contamination. The first case that went to trial was brought by a Las Vegas prep school principal who got infected after a routine colonoscopy. A jury awarded him $505 million in 2010. The next two trials also ended in giant verdicts within a few days of each other, one for $182.5 million to three patients and the other for $104 million to a 71-year-old patient and his wife. A fourth trial involving 41 patients was underway before the company agreed to settle with the Plaintiffs for a confidential sum.
Source: Lawyers USA Online
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