Medical Malpractice | Teva Appeals $500 Million Verdict

Teva Pharmaceutical has filed an appeal to the Nevada Supreme Court, requesting that it overturn a $503.5 million dollar jury verdict.

The case surrounded the use of Propofol in 50 ml vials that was contaminated with hepatitis C. Although Teva did not supply the Propofol, it did supply the 50 ml vials that was used by health care professionals to distribute the hepatitis inflected Propofol. Plaintiff, who was inflected with hepatitis C, argued that he would not have been infected with hepatitis if Teva has supplied 20 ml vials instead of 50 ml vials. Plaintiff stressed that the 50 ml vials (described as “jumbo size”) led health care professionals to reuse the vials and thereby contaminate it with hepatitis C. Plaintiff also argued that the warning labels on the vials were inadequate.

Teva argued that the vials were produced in different sizes to offer health care professionals with more choices. Further, Teva claimed that the warnings on the vials were adequate.

The jury agreed with Plaintiff, awarding over $500 million.

This case is likely going to become the poster child for the tort reform movement. Although the verdict does seem high to me, I want to stress that getting the real facts about this case from the media is going to be difficult. Already, Forbes has an article bemoaning the fact the Plaintiff’s counsel contributed $40,000 to the trial judge’s reelection (which is called free speech if a corporation contributes to a political campaign). However, I predict that the award will be reduced by the Nevada Supreme Court.

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