Published On: 11.21.2013 Charlotte, NC
J and J Unveils HIP Accord That May Exceed $4 Billion
On behalf of Charles G. Monnett III & Associates
Bloomberg News reports that Johnson & Johnson has agreed to pay at least $2.47 billion to settle thousands of lawsuits over its recalled hip implants, lawyers for the company and patients told a judge in outlining an accord that may be worth more than $4 billion.
The agreement would resolve about 8,000 U.S. suits against J&J’s DePuy unit brought by patients who have already had artificial hips removed, Susan Sharko, one of the company’s lawyers, told U.S. District Judge David Katz yesterday in Toledo, Ohio. The company will pay an average of about $250,000 for each surgery and cover related medical costs, Sharko said.
The company recalled 93,000 ASR hip implants worldwide in August 2010, saying 12 percent failed within five years. Internal J&J documents show 37 percent of ASR hips failed after 4.6 years. Last year, the failure rate in Australia climbed to 44 percent within seven years.
Under the terms of the accord, only plaintiffs who had an ASR hip implanted in the U.S. and had it removed by Aug. 31 are eligible for this settlement, Sharko said. The patients must have had the implant for at least 180 days before having it removed, she said.
The program is structured in two parts, she said. Under one part, patients will receive a base award of $250,000, subject to reductions. Under the other part, the award will go higher for patients who can demonstrate ”extraordinary injuries” related to their hip implant or removal, Sharko said.
The settlement doesn’t bar patients whose hips fail in the future from seeking compensation, said Steve Skikos, co-leader of a group of plaintiffs’ lawyers overseeing hip cases consolidated before Katz. That may add billions of dollars to the ultimate value of the accord.
As failures mounted, patients complained in lawsuits that the metal-on-metal implant caused dislocations, pain and follow-up surgeries known as revisions. They claimed that debris from the chromium and cobalt device caused tissue death and increased metal ions in the bloodstream.
The settlement covers the more than 7,500 patients who had surgery to have DePuy hips removed. The remaining claims were filed by patients who haven’t yet had revision surgeries.
For more information, call Charles G. Monnett III & Associates at 704.376.1911.