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Nevada Hepatitis C Outbreak Litigation
Date: 10/10/2011 (Date of Verdict)
Misconduct Type: Health
Enforcement Agency: Non-Governmental
Contracting Party: None
Court Type: Civil
Synopsis: A Nevada jury ordered three pharmaceutical companies – Teva Parenteral Medicines, Baxter Healthcare, and McKesson – to pay $182.6 million in damages in a lawsuit accusing them of negligently distributing vials of the anesthetic propofol to Nevada colonoscopy clinics at the center of a 2008 hepatitis C outbreak. McKesson’s share of the damages was $17.9 million. (Teva manufactures propofol, and McKesson serves as its U.S. distributor. Teva signed an indemnity agreement accepting financial responsibility for all Nevada propofol cases.) Plaintiffs accused the companies of recklessly distributing 50 milliliter vials of the anesthetic propofol to clinics, where 10 or 20 milliliter doses were commonly needed for outpatient colonoscopy procedures. The plaintiffs argued that propofol was provided in large vials with the expectation that doctors to reuse them, thus risking the spread of blood-borne diseases such as hepatitis. In February 2012, the companies settled the lawsuit as part of a global settlement of lawsuits involving the hepatitis C outbreak.
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