Teva to stop making propofol

Teva (NASDAQ: TEVA) says it will discontinue manufacturing propofol, the surgical anesthetic currently at the root of a product recall following an FDA warning letter for the drug's manufacturing facility, as well as a multimillion-dollar fine in a lawsuit stemming from clinical reuse of single-use vials.

Neither the recall nor the lawsuit is the cause of the company's decision to stop making the drug. Company spokesperson Denise Bradley cites business reasons: Propofol is hard to make and barely profitable. Teva tells Reuters that it will continue to support propofol already on the market.

Teva recalled some propofol last year after bacterial contamination was found at its Irvine, CA, manufacturing plant, leading to an FDA warning letter concerning its manufacturing operations, as reported. The drugmaker shut down the facility in mid-April and has yet to resume production.

Separately (and unrelated) is the recent $356 million settlement against the drugmaker awarded by a Nevada jury to a hepatitis C sufferer who contracted the disease following a colonoscopy in which propofol was used, as we reported. Teva is appealing. The drug was distributed by Baxter International (NYSE: BAX), which had to pay $144 million.

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