November 20, 2013 in Business, Health

Johnson & Johnson settles hip implant cases

Associated Press
 

WASHINGTON – Johnson & Johnson said late Tuesday that it will pay $2.5 billion to settle thousands of lawsuits brought by hip replacement patients who accuse the company of selling faulty implants that led to injuries and additional surgeries.

The agreement presented in U.S. District Court in Toledo, Ohio, is one of the largest for the medical device industry. It resolves an estimated 8,000 cases of patients who had to have the company’s metal ball-and-socket hip implant removed or replaced. J&J pulled the implant from the market in 2010 after data showed it failed sooner than older implants.

The deal provides roughly $250,000 per patient and covers those who had their implants removed or replaced before Aug. 31 this year. The company expects to make most of the payments to patients in 2014.

At the court hearing was Richard Stark, of Erie, Mich., who said he received one of the all-metal implants five years ago and began feeling pain soon after the surgery.

“After the third year, I was in so much pain I couldn’t take it,” said Stark, who underwent another surgery in February to fix the implant. “The money’s a bonus, but I’m happy my surgery worked out.”

J&J’s DePuy unit said in a statement that the deal does not cover all lawsuits pending against the company.

“DePuy will continue to defend against remaining claims and believes its actions related to the ASR Hip System have been appropriate and responsible,” the company said.

The artificial hip, known as the Articular Surface Replacement, or ASR, was sold for eight years to some 35,000 people in the U.S. and more than 90,000 people worldwide. New Brunswick, N.J.-based J&J stopped making the product in 2009 and recalled it the next year.

However, internal J&J documents unsealed in the case suggest that company officials were aware of problems with the device at least as far back as 2008.

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