Johnson & Johnson was Aware of the Issues
The company was aware of the faults of the Articular Surface Replacement. The Depuy Orthopaedics is the sector of Johnson & Johnson responsible for the development of the device. An internal document that was retrieved from the company acknowledged an estimate that the device would fail within five years for about 40% of the patients who used it.
Perhaps this is the reason the company is being unusually giving in its settlement deal. Johnson & Johnson have agreed to pay approximately $2.5 billion to 8,000 patients who have had to undergo extra medical treatment to have the hip implant removed. The company has also agreed to cover all medical costs accrued by the patients for the operations or treatment related to the faulty hip implant. This is an unusual settlement to be announced by a company. Usually, companies award settlements and then the plaintiff is left with the responsibility to pay off their medical bills.
The Settlement Plan
It is not yet certain if all of the patients will agree to this settlement. Each patient would be awarded $250,000. However, the plan needs a 94% agreement from the plaintiffs before it can be agreed upon. Some people may choose to pursue their own individual lawsuit in hopes to gain more monetary rewards. Others may not receive the full $250,000 settlement, as the plan will reduce the amount based on how long the patient was using the implant.
The plan will pay out $250,000 to patients who qualify. For those who smoke, are overweight or who are older, the payment will be reduced. For those patients who used the implant for an extended period, the payment will also be reduced. For patients who suffered severe injuries, and for those who had both hips replaced, the payment will be increased.
Patients are not the only ones who will be benefitting from this deal. Lawyers who have agreed to a plan with their clients will be receiving more than $800 million of the settlement. The settlements will be awarded from two main pools. From one pool, consisting of $2 billion, basic awards will be settled. The other, a $475 million pool, will be used to pay additional settlements for those patients who were severely injured or debilitated due to the implant.
Causes of Injury and Pain in Hip Implant Patients
Many patients have suffered severe pain due to the debris from the metallic components of the implant. This debris can either enter the bloodstream or damage surrounding tissue. When patients brought up this issue initially, Johnson & Johnson denied any fault of their own. In 2010, however, the product was finally recalled as its failure rate continued to increase. In totally, the A.S.R. has been implanted in around 93,000 patients.