Teva Parenteral Medicines Inc. and Baxter Healthcare Corp. were ordered to pay $90 million in punitive damages and $14 million in compensatory damages to a man who alleged he contracted Hepatitis C from a reused vial.
According to the lawsuit, Michael Washington, a retired U.S. Air Force mechanic, was diagnosed with Hepatitis C in 2007 following a colonoscopy in which the anesthetic Propofol was taken from a vial that had already been used.
Lawyers for Washington and his wife argued that Teva intentionally sold Propofol in vials that were large enough to be reused, despite knowing the risk of spreading diseases such as hepatitis. The lawyers argued that Teva pushed sales of oversized Propofol vials to colonoscopy clinics in Nevada because they were more profitable.
Attorneys defending Teva and Baxter argued that the clinics are to blame for failing to take the proper steps to sanitize the medical equipment. Propofol is administered intravenously for sedation or anesthesia.
So far, this is the third punitive-damage verdict against the defendant companies over a Propofol-linked hepatitis outbreak in Nevada. The companies were ordered to pay three colonoscopy patients more than $162 million in punitive damages on Oct. 10 and another $500 million in punitive damages and $5.1 million in compensatory damages to a plaintiff in the first case to go to trial.
Teva said in a regulatory filing that it is facing nearly 300 lawsuits related to the hepatitis outbreak in Southern Nevada, according to Bloomberg.
Lawyers from Edward M. Bernstein & Associates, Friedman Rubin, and the Law Offices of Matthew L. Sharp represented Washington and his wife.
Mr. Sharp is currently working with Friedman Rubin and Gillock, Markley & Killebrew on another case involving the tainted Propofol vials.