“Every patient will have to be evaluated and it is hard to put an exact amount on the compensation,” said Johnson & Johnson (J&J) Medical’s India spokesperson, contesting the Union Health Ministry’s recent direction to pay a base amount compensation of ₹ 20 lakh to patients implanted with the ASR hip, manufactured by DePuy International, a J&J subsidiary.
It has also sought the assistance of the government “to help us look for these patients.”
‘Agree in principle’
Speaking to The Hindu , the spokesperson said: “We agree in principle with the government’s order. In light of the recent committee report, we are seeking to work with the Indian government to develop an appropriate process for providing further support and compensation for patients in need.”
Adding that J&J had instituted an unprecedented patient reimbursement programme in August 2010.
The reaction comes after the Union Health Ministry asked J&J to look for patients who received the ASR but have not registered with the helpline, while also directing it to extend the ASR reimbursement programme, which is being run by the firm till 2025.
Close to 4,700 people with damaged hip joints in India received the ASR implant before 2010, when it was recalled, of which only 1,080 were tracked. The government appointed expert committee, however, maintains that over 3,600 patients with the faulty implants remain untraceable.
The government order noted that “the firm has to give due diligence to trace those remaining patients who have received the ASR but have not registered with the helpline. Sincere efforts should be done by the firm to trace all the patients who have received the ASR and collect data related to their health status with reference to the hip joint.”
J&J has also been ordered to provide medical management for all affected patients with symptoms in the manner as specified in the report. Apart from this, it said the company should, from time to time, also issue a suitable advisory for medical professionals, up to the year 2025.
Meanwhile, a group of patients who have suffered because of the faulty ASR hip implant are now demanding that “patients who have suffered should serve as members of the committee to ensure justice. To put it simply, we don’t trust anyone any more — neither the government nor the company.”