The jury in Chanin v. Desert Shadow Endoscopy today awarded $500M in punitive damages against Baxter and Teva -- $144M against Baxter and $356M against Teva -- the pharmaceutical companies that manufactured (Teva) and distributed (Baxter) vials of the anesthetic Propofol.
Unsafe injection practices -- dosing multiple patients from a single vial -- resulted in the spread of Hepatitis C at Desert Shadow Endoscopy Center.
The jury had already awarded Henry and Lorraine Chanin over $5M in compensatory damages based on Teva and Baxter's failure to adequately warn of the risks associated with multidosing, and also Teva and Baxter's providing the anesthetic in vials inappropriately large for use in an endoscopy center, which, the jury found, was a breach of the warranty of fitness for a particular purpose.
Plaintiff attorney Robert Eglet claimed that there had been prior outbreaks of Hepatitis at other endoscopy clinics, also resulting from multidosing, and that the pharmaceutical companies knew that the smaller vials were safer. According to the plaintiff, the larger vials were nonetheless supplied because the pharmaceutical companies put profits above safety.
District Court Judge Jessie Walsh prepares to receive the jury's verdict in Chanin v. Teva and Baxter Pharmaceuticals in Las Vegas.