Setback for Johnson & Johnson's HC plea in hip implants compensation case

The Johnson and Johnson logo is seen at an office building in Singapore | Photo: Reuters
The Delhi High Court on Wednesday refused to hear Johnson and Johnson’s (J&J) plea challenging a government notification asking them to pay compensation to patients affected by faulty hip implants and deferred the matter to February 26 for next hearing.

Johnson and Johnson had approached the Delhi high court seeking an urgent hearing claiming that government’s directive asking the company to pay compensation to the victims of faulty hip implants had no basis in law and thus must be stayed for now. The court, however, refused to hear the company’s plea as it was “neither important nor urgent”.

In the interim, however, the high court has asked the government to submit a copy of the report by Dr Arun Aggarwal, on whose recommendation the government asked the company to compensate victims of faulty hip implants.

Taking note of the government’s submission that the Supreme Court was already hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) concerning the same matter, the high court said it would wait for apex court’s decision and then hear J&J’s plea.

The top court had on October 5 had asked the central government to file its response to a PIL which alleged that "faulty" and "deadly" hip implants had been fitted into the bodies of nearly 4,500 Indian patients. The court had also asked them to detail the formula used by the government to arrive at the compensation for such patients.

But J&J told the high court that they were unaware of any such PIL as no notice had been issued to them by the top court and neither had they been made a party to the PIL.

In 2017, the Centre had set up a Arun Aggarwal-led committee to look after patients’ problems caused by faulty hip implants produced and distributed by Johnson & Johnson India and DePuy Orthopaedics INC collectively. DePuy Orthopaedics Inc is a fully-owned arm of J&J.

The committee, which submitted its report in August this year, had found J&J guilty of concealing information and asked it to pay minimum Rs 2 million to all affected patients. It had said that the company should continue the compensation program till August 2025 so that all patients were duly reimbursed. The committee had also recommended setting up on an independent registry for tracking usage of high-risk medical devices and including the provision of compensation in the Medical Devices Rules of 2017.

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