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Baxter Settles Dialysis Cases

Aug 25, 2002 | FT.com Baxter International has settled the majority of cases that involved deaths last year related to its kidney dialysis filters, following a settlement with families in Croatia.

The US medical products maker said it had reached a settlement with most of the 21 patients' families, with the remainder to be settled in the coming days. That settlement means the Chicago based company has settled its significant cases in Croatia, Spain and the US - the locations of most of the estimated 55 deaths from dialysis.

Last November, the company agreed to pay Pta550m ($2.89m) to the families of 10 victims in Spain, and it said in July it had settled cases in Croatia and the US. The settlement value in Spain is thought to be a rough guide for the Croatian settlements, as Baxter has said it would attempt to treat all cases in an equitable manner.

Baxter started receiving reports of deaths of dialysis patients in Spain about a year ago, and subsequently withdrew some of its blood filters from the market there. A month later, Croatian health authorities reported at least 21 deaths of kidney patients.

Dialysis deaths connected to Baxter's products were also reported in Texas, Colombia and Taiwan.

Investigators found the deaths were connected to a filter used in the dialysis machines. Baxter recalled all the related filters worldwide and later took responsibility for the deaths after finding a solvent chemical used in manufacturing present in the filters.

The filters were manufactured in a Swedish plant, which Baxter closed. It took a $150m charge to cover costs for the incidents.

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