New DePuy Hip Settlement Could Exceed $4 Billion
Johnson & Johnson has announced a DePuy hip settlement in the works that could exceed $4 billion. According to reports at the New York Times and Bloomberg, the pharmaceutical giant has agreed to a multi-billion dollar deal that would involve approximately 8,000 patients who have been injured by the DePuy ASR hip implant device. The deal would settle thousands of lawsuits currently pending against Johnson & Johnson.
The agreement for potential DePuy ASR settlements was submitted to U.S. District Judge David Katz on November 17, 2013. The settlement, which is the second-largest in the history of Johnson & Johnson, does not require the approval of Judge Katz to move forward. However, it does require approval by 94 percent of the eligible claimants involved in the multidistrict litigation that Judge Katz is currently overseeing.
Amounts for DePuy ASR settlements vary
The majority of plaintiffs involved in the DePuy hip settlement proposal would receive $250,000 to compensate them for pain and suffering caused by the defective device. This base payment would apply to plaintiffs who required revision surgery within five years after receiving their original DePuy device. Those who required revision surgery after having the DePuy implant for five years or longer would receive reduced payouts, based on the number of years they had the DePuy ASR device.
Payout reductions would also be in effect for plaintiffs who were smokers or had a higher than average body mass index (BMI). Reductions would also be calculated according to the age of the patient, whether the patient had other devices prior to the ASR, and whether the patient died more than five years after receiving the device. Patients who required revision surgery because of trauma to the hip or infection would not be eligible for payouts.
Additional payouts may be available for patients who underwent bilateral hip replacements (implants in both hips). Those who required revision surgery in both hips due to ASR devices may be eligible for additional payouts, with no reductions in payouts for the second surgery. Patients who suffered additional injuries, such as pulmonary embolism, heart attack or stroke related to their revision surgery, might also be eligible for an additional amount under the DePuy hip settlement agreement.
History of DePuy ASR hip problems
The DePuy ASR hip device was first approved for use in the U.S. in 2005 and since that time, thousands of patients have complained of serious complications and injuries from the implant. Complications have included loosening of the joint, persistent pain and reduced mobility. The metal-on-metal components have also resulted in metal exposure, due to fretting of the components. Metal ions have entered the surrounding tissue and bloodstream in some patients, leading to serious injury, pain and debilitation.
Many of those patients have brought lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson, stating the company did not adequately warn doctors or the general public about the dangers associated with the ASR implant. The legal process has been fueled by a voluntary recall of the ASR device by Johnson & Johnson in 2010. Federal lawsuits have been coordinated into multidistrict litigation in Ohio District Court, for the purpose of streamlining early trial proceedings and making the legal process more convenient for everyone involved.
Now, Johnson & Johnson has announced their settlement plan in hopes of resolving around 8,000 of those lawsuits. Other patients who experience hip failure from the ASR device could also be eligible for payouts under this plan in the future, until August 31, 2015. It is unclear at this time if enough plaintiffs will agree to the settlement to put the plan in motion.
This settlement proposal comes on the heels of another large settlement plan from the company. On November 4, 2013, the company agreed to pay more than $2.2 billion to resolve probes in their marketing of Risperdal and other drugs.
- New York Times, Johnson & Johnson in Deal to Settle Hip Implant Lawsuits, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/20/business/johnson-johnson-to-offer-2-5-billion-hip-device-settlement.html?_r=3&
- Bloomberg, J&J Unveils Hip Accord that may Exceed $4 Billion, http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-11-19/j-j-unveils-hip-accord-that-may-be-worth-more-than-4-bln.html
- Bloomberg, J&J Hip Implant Judge Warns of Rogue Websites on Accord, http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-11-21/j-j-hip-implant-judge-warns-of-rogue-websites-on-accord.html