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Lawyer: Drugmakers Knew Vials Led To Contamination

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A lawyer for a husband and wife suing two drug companies over a hepatitis C outbreak in Las Vegas says company officials purposely sold large containers of an anesthetic to clinics despite knowing it might lead nurses to re-use and contaminate the vials.

Attorney Robert Eglet told a jury during opening arguments on Thursday that officials for Baxter Healthcare Corp.
and Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries Ltd. knew for years that single-dose vials of propofol were safer to use, but sold vials five times larger because they were cheaper to produce and led to more sales.

Lawyers for the drug companies say other causes besides the size of the vials can be linked to the spread of the liver disease.

The trial is one of hundreds expected against the companies.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

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