Pharmaceutical Cos. Fined $500M in Hep C Case

     LAS VEGAS (CN) – A jury on Friday ordered a pair of pharmaceutical companies to pay $500 million in punitive damages to a man infected with hepatitis C after an endoscopy clinic was accused of reusing single-use vials of syringes on him and other patients. Henry Chanin’s lawyer said it was the largest punitive damages award in Nevada history.

     The jury on Wednesday found Teva Parenteral Medicines and Baxter Healthcare Corp. liable for failing to warn about the threat of clinicians reusing large, 50-mL vials of the anesthetic propofol. The jury awarded Chanin, a private school headmaster, and his wife $5 million in compensatory damages.
     Chanin’s attorney, Robert Eglet, then asked the jury to award the Chanins $1 billion in punitive damages.
     Chanin contracted hepatitis C following a routine procedure at the Desert Shadow Endoscopy Center.
     The clinic is one of several linked to a 2008 hepatitis C outbreak in Las Vegas.
     Thousands of Las Vegas residents were asked to test for AIDS and hepatitis B and C after health officials said clinics were reusing vials of anesthetic on patients.
     Thousands of lawsuits followed. This was the first to go to trial.

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