Las Vegas Sun

August 20, 2014

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Court won’t stop health district workers from testifying at hepatitis C trials

Sun Coverage

CARSON CITY – The Nevada Supreme Court has refused to issue an emergency order to stop employees of the Southern Nevada Health District from being called as witnesses at multiple trials involving the 2008 hepatitis C outbreak in Las Vegas.

The health district said it would result in a hardship if its employees were required to appear in person at each of the possibly hundreds of trials. It suggested that the depositions taken earlier of the district workers would be satisfactory for introduction at the trials.

The health district maintained there was an agreement with the drug manufacturers that the depositions would be used at trial and the employees would not be called to testify, but the Supreme Court said the health district failed to show there was an agreement.

The health district is not a party to the suits, but the drug companies want the right to call these health district workers to testify.

The patients are suing the drug companies on the theory that defective vials of the anesthetic Propofol were to blame.

The suits say the size of the vials distributed to the Endoscopy Clinic of Southern Nevada led to them being reused. The workers at the clinic reportedly injected needles contaminated with hepatitis C into vials of Propofol, then reused those vials.

The decision of the Supreme Court upholds the ruling of District Judge Ronald J. Israel.

Those companies wanting the right to call health district workers include Teva Parenteral Medicines, Sicor Pharmaceuticals, Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada, Baxter Healthcare Corp. and McKesson Corp.

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