GE settles NSF case with Calif. woman

GE Healthcare of Chalfont St. Giles, U.K., has settled a lawsuit involving a California woman who allegedly contracted nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (NSF) after administration of the company's Omniscan gadolinium-based MRI contrast agent.

The confidential settlement was reached in late February; the San Francisco trial was scheduled to begin in April. The litigation is one of many NSF cases scheduled to go to trial.

The lawsuit involved Alicia Ney, a 17-year-old Ceres resident who was born with polycystic kidney disease. She received Omniscan MRI contrast three times between 2002 and 2007, according to court documents. Ney, who was a cheerleader before she contracted NSF, subsequently developed contractures in her ankles and is now in a wheelchair.

Terms of the settlement were not disclosed. GE issued this statement regarding the settlement: "GE remains committed to patient safety and continues to work with leading experts to determine the underlying cause(s) of NSF."

Ney's attorney, Nancy Hersh of the San Francisco law firm Hersh and Hersh, declined to comment. Hersh is representing two other defendants in upcoming cases against GE and MRI contrast developer Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals of Wayne, NJ. Bayer has also settled several NSF lawsuits.

Approximately 420 product liability cases are currently pending that have been filed across the country since February 2008 related to gadolinium MRI contrast and its possible connection to NSF.

In addition to GE and its Omniscan product and Bayer and its Magnevist product, other lawsuits involve Bracco Diagnostics of Princeton, NJ, with its ProHance and MultiHance agents; and Mallinckrodt, a division of Covidien of Dublin, Ireland, which markets Optimark.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning about gadolinium MRI contrast and its possible connection to NSF in June 2006, and the agency asked manufacturers to put warning labels on their products in May 2007.

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