Reuse of syringes and vials of the anesthetic propofol is believed to have caused of a 2008 outbreak of hepatitis C, a finding that last week landed Teva and Baxter Healthcare a combined $500 million in fines for infecting patients. Both companies, which functioned as manufacturer and distributor, respectively, say they will appeal.
The propofol vials were reused at the Desert Shadow Endoscopy Center and other clinics in southern Nevada for colonoscopy and endoscopy procedures. The Las Vegas jury found the companies responsible for "breach of implied warranty and failure to warn," says a New York Times report. Teva says the drug's label "clearly states" that it is for single patient use only and that aseptic procedures should be used at all times, according to Reuters.
The propofol was used by endoscopy clinics at which nine to possibly more than 100 patients were infected. The case marks the first of what could be many.
But Teva says it's ready to appeal. "Teva believes that there are numerous grounds for appeal, and plans to contest the verdict vigorously," the company says in a statement.