LAS VEGAS - (Mealey's) A Nevada state court jury on Oct. 6 ordered three drug defendants to pay three plaintiffs $20.1 million in compensatory damages for selling so-called "jumbo" vials of the anesthetic propofol, resulting in the vials being used for multiple patients and the plaintiffs becoming infected with hepatitis C (Richard C. Sacks v. Endoscopy Centers of Southern Nevada, et al., No. 08A572315, Nev. Dist., Clark Co.).
The Clark County District Court jury awarded plaintiff Anne Arnold $8.5 million and her husband, James, $900,000, plaintiff Anthony Devito $5 million and his wife, Donna, $700,000 and plaintiff Richard C. Sacks $5 million.
The punitive damage phase of the trial began Oct. 7 in Clark County District Court.
Sacks, Devito and Arnold each underwent colonoscopies at Endoscopy Centers of Southern Nevada. They were anesthetized during the procedure with propofol, a general anesthetic administered intravenously.
The plaintiffs allege that instead of making single-use vials, defendant Teva Parenteral Medicines Inc. made "jumbo" vials containing multiple doses, which let health care providers to use vials to anesthetize multiple patients during multiple colonoscopies and allowed the hepatitis C virus to get into the vials and be passed along to successive patients.
Distributors Baxter Healthcare Corp. and McKesson Corp. are the other defendants.
The defendants argued that the plaintiffs were infected because health care providers failed to heed label warnings that the vials were for single use only and that the practitioners failed to properly clean equipment between colonoscopies.
[Editor's Note: Full coverage will be in the Oct. 20 issue of Mealey's Emerging Drugs & Devices. For all of your legal news needs, please visit www.lexisnexis.com/mealeys.]
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