J&J offers ₹25 lakh to all patients for faulty implant

Setback: The company has been asked to give a list of all claimants who are registered with it.

Setback: The company has been asked to give a list of all claimants who are registered with it.

U.S. multinational Johnson & Johnson (J&J) on Thursday informed the Delhi High Court that it was ready to voluntarily pay ₹25 lakh each to 67 patients who have undergone revision surgeries on receiving faulty hip implants made by the company .

J&J has been embroiled in a legal battle with the government over the issue of compensation to those patients who had received faulty Articular Surface Replacement (ASR) hip implants, which forced them to undergo revision surgeries.

Around 93,000 people worldwide were implanted with ASR, out of which around 4,700 patients are from India. It was recalled by the company in August 2010 after the number of serious adverse reactions grew in India and across the world.

The 67 patients would be receiving the cheque within two weeks.

J&J additionally told the High Court that it was willing to pay similar amount to other verified patients. It, however, clarified that this voluntary payment should not be construed as an admission of liability or precedent.

Justice Vibhu Bakhru noted the company’s contention but clarified that the court had not gone into the merits of controversy involved. The judge also said that the payment of ₹25 lakh will not prejudice the rights of patients to seek additional claims.

The High Court was hearing J&J’s plea challenging a press release issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare asking it to pay compensation to the affected patients. J&J has challenged the compensation formula worked out by the government-appointed expert committee.

Following Thursday’s development, Ms. Malini Aisola from the All India Drugs Action Network, said: “J&J has agreed to a payment of 25 lakh to a small number of patients who have undergone revision surgery. This is not an adjudicated amount and far from a just and fair compensation for patients. It is a voluntary payment without prejudice to patients’ rights. All options remain open to patients.”

She said the government had shared the names of 93 patients with revision surgery, but J&J shortened this list to 67 patients.

One of the patients and member of the hip-implant patients support group, Vijay Vojhala said, “We are not aware of the basis or criteria that the Company has used. This number is surprising because J&J has access to information about hundreds of patients who have undergone revision surgery, through its reimbursement program.”

He added that the “Company refuses to take responsibility for its criminally negligent actions. The voluntary payment of 25 lakh is in stark contrast to what they have paid abroad, which has been up to $2.5 million per victim, for the faulty implants. The Company has also recently settled a case for false marketing of its metal-on-metal hip implants in the US for $120million.”

J&J in a statement said: “We are very pleased to make compensation payments as Johnson & Johnson Private Limited volunteered to do. We continue to believe the formula for compensation needs to be within a fully transparent and legal framework arrived at through due process.”

“As we have always maintained, Johnson & Johnson Private Limited remains committed to providing assistance, including appropriate compensation under the law, to ASR patients in India who have undergone revision surgery,” it added.

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Printable version | May 17, 2022 3:44:02 pm |