Faulty hip implants: Govt's nod soon for compensation formula on J&J

The Johnson and Johnson logo is seen at an office building in Singapore | Photo: Reuters
The expert panel that reviewed the compensation to be paid by Johnson and Johnson (J&J) to patients impacted by faulty ASR hip implants has submitted its report to the Centre. A senior government official said the formula to be used to calculate compensation has been submitted to the health ministry for its approval.

While the government official declined to share the details of the formula for compensation, he said the process of compensation to patients would be completed in a speedy manner after the health ministry’s nod to the formula proposed. 

This comes at a time when J&J has chalked out a plan for compensation to these patients within India. “The programme provides for the reimbursement of eligible tests and revision surgery up to 15 years from the date of primary surgery,” J&J said in a statement. 

The company also said it had reached out to doctors to let patients know of the compensation programme. 

The new programme proposes to support patients who have been implanted in India with its ASR hip implants from June 2004 to August 2010 and provide reimbursements, if the revision surgery and the tests have taken place within 15 years from the date of the primary hip replacement surgeries. 

Around 4,700 surgeries using these implants were done in the country. Subsequently, these implants were withdrawn.

The All India Drug Action Network (AIDAN) said, “For years, J&J has denied legitimate claims of patients on the basis that an arbitrary timeframe set by the company, of ten years, had lapsed by the time patients approached the company for reimbursement. The newly framed India-specific program has been framed under pressure, to modify an unjust and callous exclusionary rule. While this is positive, it should be kept in mind that the reimbursement program is very limited. For example, because patients were not informed of the faulty implants, they underwent numerous medical investigations, procedures and treatments at significant financial cost, prior to revision surgery. How will they be reimbursed for these costs?”

An expert committee set up by the Centre looked into the matter and decided a formula for compensation based on the disability caused. 

This committee was constituted after the main committee on the matter had recommended compensation to affected patients. The base compensation will be Rs 2 million, and any excess amount will be based on the disability caused. The government has written to DePuy Medical, asking them to provide compensation till 2025.

In the US, J&J had paid $2.5 billion for the same problem.

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