The saying “bigger isn’t always better” likely is haunting Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. and Baxter International Inc.
Divisions within the two pharmaceutical companies will pay millions in damages to colonoscopy patients who claim they got liver disease Hepatitis C from the anesthetic Propofol. The companies sold the drug in oversize vials that doctors used for multiple patients, thus increasing the risk of spreading the disease.
So far, Teva and Baxter have lost three cases involving the drug’s ties to a 2008 Hepatitis C outbreak in Nevada. Yesterday, a jury awarded a colonoscopy patient and his wife $14 million in compensatory damages and will determine the couples’ punitive damages tomorrow. In a separate case yesterday, a jury awarded three colonoscopy patients a total of $162.5 million in punitive damages. Plaintiffs in the first Propofol case, in 2010, received $5.1 million in compensatory damages and $500 in punitive damages.
According to Bloomberg, Teva faces nearly 300 lawsuits tied to the Hepatitis C outbreak.