May 11, 2010 - Jury Finds Drug Makers Liable in Hepatitis C Case

A jury has found two drug companies liable for the hepatitis C infection of a Las Vegas man.

The jury of six women and two men found that Teva Parenteral Medicine and Baxter Healthcare Services were liable on two of the three liability claims in the lawsuit filed by Henry Chanin and his wife, Lorraine.

The jury awarded Henry Chanin $3.25 million and Lorraine Chanin $1.85 million in compensatory damages.

The jury also ruled that the companies should pay punitive damages.

Jurors had been deliberating since Friday afternoon in the case pitting a 62-year-old Las Vegas man infected with hepatitis C against two drug companies who made and sold the sedative propofol.

Chanin, headmaster at The Meadows School, was infected with hepatitis C during a 2006 colonoscopy at the Desert Shadow Endoscopy Center, one of two Las Vegas clinics linked to the hepatitis outbreak.

He and his wife sued Teva Parenteral Medicine and Baxter Healthcare Services on several product liability claims.

During two weeks of testimony, Chanin's lawyers argued that the drug companies made and sold vials of propofol that were larger than necessary for typical endoscopic procedures, which enticed nurse anesthetists to reuse the vials among patients and spread the blood-borne disease.

The drug companies countered that different vial sizes give medical professionals the choice to decide which size is appropriate for their procedures and patients.

The jury was tasked with determining whether the drug companies were liable for Chanin's infection and, if so, how much the companies should pay in damages.


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