Johnson & Johnson Agrees to Pay $4 Billion to Settle Hip Implant Lawsuits
Johnson & Johnson has agreed to pay $4 billion to settle thousands of product liability lawsuits involving recalled metal-to-metal hip implants developed by one of its medical device subsidiaries, DePuy.
Johnson & Johnson’s Tentative $4 Billion Settlement
According to the New York Times, the settlement is still a tentative plan and must win court approval before the settlement would be allowed. The proposed $4 billion settlement would cover patients who previously had to undergo surgery to remove their DePuy Articular Surface Replament (A.S.R.) and replace it with an alternative hip implant device.
It is currently unclear how many of the 12,000 lawsuits involve patients who received such surgeries, but with current estimates falling between 7,000 and 8,000, each patient is set to receive about $350,000. The exact amount a patient would receive will vary according to factors such the patient’s age and medical condition.
If approved by the court, this lawsuit would be among the largest product liability claims involving a medical device on record.
About DePuy All Metal Hip Implants
DePuy first introduced its metal-to-metal Articular Surface Replacement (A.S.R) implants in 2003 with approximately 93,000 patients receiving the replacements before the device was recalled mid-2010. About one-third of all A.S.R. implants occurred in the United States.
These all-metal hip replacements initially gained popularity among orthopedic surgeons under the belief that the new all-metal devices would last longer than traditional metal and plastic device; however, by 2008, data suggested that DePuy’s A.S.R. devices were experiencing high failure rates within only a few years of being implanted.
In fact, internal projections by DePuy estimated that 40 percent of their replacements would fail within five years – a rate eight times higher than the average for other hip implants, many of which last for 15 years or more before failing.
Another problem which arose from the all-metal hip implants was the shedding of metallic debris into the body. As the metal ball and cup that made up the joint rubbed together, metal particles were dispersed. These small particles could damage tissue, cause crippling injuries or result in cobalt poisoning upon entering the blood stream.
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