New Delhi: Indian patients suffering due to faulty hip implants sold by healthcare giant Johnson and Johnson Pvt Ltd will get as much as 1.2 crore each and an additional 10 lakh for “non pecuniary" losses, in what could be first ever initiative of compensation being paid for sub standard treatment in the country. The health ministry late on Thursday approved the formula devised by a government panel of experts determining the quantum of compensation.

As reported by Mint first on October 18, the minimum compensation as per formula in case of a disability will be 30 lakh. The formula is based on the percentage of disability, age factor and risk factor. The compensation amount varies from 30 lakh to 1.2 crore,"the health ministry release revealed. For example, in case the disability is on the higher scale (50%) and the person underwent the hip surgery at a young age of 20, the quantum of compensation will be over 1.2 crore.

The expert that worked on the formula recommended the use of the Indian Disability Evaluation and Assessment Scale (IDEAS) for the assessment and certification of disability in patients.

The compensation will keep up with the cost of living in the future, disturbance of routine and mental agony,"said a senior person in the health ministry. “If a person underwent a surgery when he/she was 60 years or above and the disability is measured at the scale of 20-30%, he/she will be entitled to get a minimum of 30 lakh."

The health ministry said that patients can now “secure compensation from Johnson and Johnson in days to come". “Compensation will be paid in a time bound manner through bank accounts of affected persons by J&J Pvt Ltd," the health ministry said in a statement.

Around 100 people fitted with J&J’s Acetabular Surface Replacement (ASR) hip implant have already approached the committee for compensation.

The central expert committee examined the existing Acts such as the Motor Vehicles Act and the rules for injuries or deaths from clinical trials in India to arrive at the formula for determining the quantum of damages.

J&J has been criticized for failing to pay any compensation in India, although it had agreed to pay hefty damages of $2.5 billion to around 8,000 US citizens, who sued the company after receiving the faulty hip implants.

Around 4,700 ASR surgeries were carried out in India between 2004 and 2010. However, only 1,080 patients could be traced through the ASR helpline.

Welcoming the government move, Rajiv Nath, forum coordinator, AiMeD said, “We are glad that Government has listened to patients angst and concerns - this formula will send a new benchmark internationally and though loss of life or disability can never be truly compensated to a troubled patient yet frankly this will be financially a tall order for any manufacturer to service and this will open up the insurance sector for product liability insurance in India."

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