Report: J&J settles first hip implant lawsuits for $600K

For months, we have been writing about the dangers posed by faulty hip replacements, including a line of Johnson & Johnson devices that were recalled in 2010. The company now faces close to 8,000 lawsuits over the defective medical devices, and recently agreed to pay about $600,000 to resolve the first three lawsuits, according to reports.

The line of hip replacements at issue in the lawsuits is J&J’s DePuy brand ASR hip implants, sources close to the litigation reported. They said that J&J will pay about $200,000 to each plaintiff to resolve the first three lawsuits before they are scheduled to go to trial later this year.

While $200,000 may seem like a lot of money, a business professor at the University of Michigan, who follows the pharmaceutical industry, said he would expect J&J to pay something closer to the “$200,000-to- $500,000 range per case.” The professor said J&J could spend as much as $2 billion to resolve all the existing claims.

The company recalled 93,000 ASR hip implants worldwide in 2010 after determining that 12 percent of the medical devices failed within five years. Subsequent lawsuits against J&J alleged that the hip implants caused patients pain and left them immobilized by joint dislocations, infections and bone fractures.

Additionally, plaintiff-patients assert that metal debris broke off of the implants and caused tissue death around the hip joint as well as potentially harmful levels of metal ions in the bloodstream.

A judge in Ohio is overseeing about 6,000 of the lawsuits that were filed in federal court. There are also more than 2,000 additional cases filed in many state courts.

Source: NJ.com, “Johnson & Johnson to pay $600k to settle suits over recalled hip implants,” Aug. 21, 2012