Teva Pharmaceutical Pays $250 Million to Settle Propofol Lawsuits

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. reportedly will pay more than $250 million to settle nearly one hundred lawsuits over the sedative Propofol. The lawsuits allege that Teva intentionally sold the anesthetic, Propofol, in vials which were large enough to be reused by doctors, but caused some colonoscopy patients to develop Hepatitis C, as reported by Bloomberg News.

Among the claims that will be settled include a private school principal, Henry Chanin, from Nevada. Mr. Chanin contracted hepatitis C following a routine colonoscopy at the Desert Shadow Endoscopy Center, which is now closed. Hepatitis C is a serious infection of the liver, caused by a virus. It is a chronic disease for which there is no cure, contracted through blood contact.

Attorneys for Chanin argued that the companies (Teva and Baxter Healthcare) sold “inadequately labeled,” 50 mililiter vials of the drug to small clinics, which encouraged reuse by healthcare professionals on many patients, leaving these patients vulnerable to the Hepatitis virus.

In May, a Clark County jury found the two drug companies liable, reaching a state record of more than $500 million in punitive damages.  This was in addition to the $5.1 million in compensatory damages Chanin and his wife had already been awarded against Teva. Henry Chanin claimed that the sedative lacked appropriate warnings, and that large vials should not have been provided to doctors.

To date, Teva has settled about 120 Propofol lawsuits, and has reserved $270 million towards the litigation, as confirmed by a Teva spokeswoman who also noted that 15 lawsuits are still pending.

For those of you who think Propofol sounds familiar, this is the same drug that was to blame for the death of Michael Jackson.  His physician, Conrad Murray, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter, and sentenced to four years in jail after injecting Jackson with the fatal dose of this sedative to help him sleep.

Once again, it is the greed of the big pharmaceutical companies left to blame for the pain and suffering of others. Is this justice?

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