Report: Drug company settles lawsuits for more than $250 million

By Jessica M. Karmasek | Feb 23, 2012

CARSON CITY, Nev. (Legal Newsline) - Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. reportedly will pay more than $250 million to settle nearly 100 lawsuits over the sedative propofol.

A source close to the deal confirmed the settlement in a Bloomberg report Tuesday.

Among those claims that will be settled include that of Nevada hepatitis C victim Henry Chanin.

Chanin, the headmaster at The Meadows School in Las Vegas, contracted the virus after having a colonoscopy at the Desert Shadow Endoscopy Center, which is now closed.

Hepatitis C is an infection caused by a virus that attacks the liver and leads to inflammation. It is one of several hepatitis viruses and is generally considered to be among the most serious of these viruses. It is passed through contact with contaminated blood.

At issue in Chanin's case, which was on appeal at the Nevada Supreme Court before being settled, was the size of the vials of propofol.

Attorneys for Chanin argued the companies -- Teva and Baxter Healthcare -- sold "inadequately labeled" 50-milliliter vials of the drug to small clinics, which encouraged reuse by health care professionals on multiple patients and made them vulnerable to the hepatitis virus.

In May 2010, a Clark County jury found the two drug companies liable for the larger-sized vials, reaching a state-record verdict of $500 million.

That was on top of $5.1 million in compensatory damages Chanin and his wife had already been awarded.

In a filing to the Nevada Supreme Court Friday, the parties said they have agreed to a settlement and expect to file a stipulation to dismiss.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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