Teva Doles Out $250 Mil to End Lawsuits on Propofol

Teva Doles Out $250 Mil to End Lawsuits on Propofol

February 22nd, 2012 // 1:23 pm @

Source: Pharmalot

Yet another drugmaker has agreed to settle a large backload of product liability lawsuits. In the latest instance, Teva Pharmaceutical will pay more than $250 million to settle more than 80 lawsuits alleging the drugmaker intentionally sold its Propofol anesthetic in vials that were large enough to be reused by doctors, but led some colonoscopy patients to develop hepatitis C, Bloomberg News reports.

The deal also resolves a May 2010 case that prompted a jury award of more than $500 million in punitive damages and $5 million in compensatory damages against the Israeli drugmaker, according to the news service, citing sources and a filing with the Nevada Supreme Court. A private school principal charged the sedative lacked appropriate warnings and large vials should not have provided to doctors (back story).

So far, Teva has settled about 120 Propofol lawsuits and reserved $270 million for the litigation, according to a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (see page 39). A Teva spokeswoman confirmed the settlement to Bloomberg and noted that 15 lawsuits are still pending.

Teva, by the way, no longer makes Propofol, but agreed to indemnity Baxter Healthcare and McKesson for the Propofol cases in Nevada. Last fall, the companies lost a trial in which a jury determined they contributed to a 2008 hepatitis outbreak due to the way Propofol was marketed and three plaintiffs were awarded more than $162 million (back story).

And for those who were wondering, yes, Propofol is the same medication that was at the center of the controversy over the 2009 death of pop star Michael Jackson and his physician, Conrad Murray, who was convicted last fall of involuntary manslaughter and sentenced to four years in jail for injecting Jackson, who relied on the med as a sedative to help him sleep.

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