First: Health Ministry Panel wants JnJ to pay at least Rs 20 lakh to patients for faulty implants
New Delhi: Compensation has been recommended by a panel set up by the health ministry, in order to provide relief to patients who received faulty hip implants from Johnson and Johnson seven years ago.
The panel, led by Dr Arun Kumar Agarwal, former dean of Maulana Azad Medical College, suggested a base amount of Rs 20 lakh each for all the patients who were received defective implants and had to be replaced with corrective surgery.
It is reported that in the year 2010, a hip replacement device namely DePuy ASR was recalled over reports of metal poisoning and high failures due to the presence of toxic chromium, cobalt and a design flaw that filtered into the body, causing danger to lives. It was sold in India by DePuy International, a subsidiary of J&J.
In February 2016, the panel was formed by the government to investigate the case as India has no specific legal provisions to pay compensation in such cases.
As per recent reports in Mint, the committee report states, "The committee recommends that the firm be made liable to pay adequate compensation commensurate with the loss of wages, severity of the pain, the resultant disability and sufferings (both mental and physical) of each of the patients who had received implant."
The committee further recommended forming another central panel of experts and regional expert committees to study claims of disability and suffering caused due to the device. Depending upon the base amount and lost wages the central committee will determine the final amount of compensation.
The committee also recommended free medical management to all the patients who had to undergo another surgery, in its report including follow-up for all affected patients for their health check-ups.
"In 2012, the firm had clearly admitted that a 5% revision rate is expected. However, they had recalled the product when the revision rate was 12-13% which is almost two and half times the normal rate," said the report.
"Many patients reported general fatigue or local issues such as pseudotumor, pain in walking, metalossis (increase in cobalt and chromium levels, asthenozoospermia (reduced sperm motility), cyst in kidney, claudication pain," the report stated.
J&J has already agreed to pay a total of $2.5 billion to around 8,000 citizens in the US who sued it.
Saying it has not received a copy of the report J&J declined to comment.
A company spokesperson told Mint, "The company's decisions leading up to the global voluntary recall of the ASR Hip System and subsequent actions, including a reimbursement programme for recall-related medical expenses, reflect our commitment to patients. We have supported ASR patients with a reimbursement programme for their medical costs, including revision surgery where necessary. DePuy established the reimbursement programme with the intention of removing financial barriers for patients so they could receive recall-related testing and treatment. The programme was the first of its kind worldwide, and it has, to date, resulted in thousands of payments globally on behalf of ASR Hip System patients."