New Delhi: The Centre on Monday sought two more days to file its status report on the issue of faulty hip implants by pharmaceutical giant Johnson and Johnson Pvt. Ltd (J&J).
The Centre’s lawyer told a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi that the report was ready but it would need more time to bring it on record.
The apex court had on 5 October sought the views of the Centre’s expert panel on faulty hip implants by J&J and directed its report to be filed in two months.
The court was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) by Arun Kumar Goenka, a businessman, seeking protection of the fundamental right under Article 21 (right to life) of 14,525 patients who had undergone the deputy acetabular surface replacement (ASR) hip implant surgeries since 2005.
The plea also sought the appointment of a special investigation team (SIT) to oversee effective measures for the implementation of immediate action against the implants and asked for directions to the government to advertise across India about the recall of the faulty implants.
“I am not satisfied with the action initiated by the government so far. Hence, I decided to approach the court," Goenka said.
The PIL was filed in the apex court by lawyer Vivek Narayan Sharma, after a Mint investigation published on 23 August exposed the sufferings of those who had to go through revision surgeries.
Goenka, in his plea, asked the court to direct the government to take action against officials who had issued a certificate to the multinational firms for selling the faulty product without any clinical trial.
Goenka’s 90-year-old mother died in March because of “serious complications that occurred following the hip implant surgery in 2007", the petitioner claimed.
The device in question was manufactured by DePuy Orthopaedics Inc, a wholly owned subsidiary of the $76.4 billion J&J, which is represented in India by the unlisted Johnson and Johnson Pvt. Ltd.
At present, there are no specific legal provisions to provide compensation to patients in such cases.
In August, the government constituted an expert committee and asked states to form separate panels to determine the quantum of compensation in an 8-year-old case of patients undergoing corrective surgery after being fitted with “faulty" hip implants sold by J&J.
The committee consists of five members and is chaired by R.K. Arya, director of Safdarjung Hospital’s sports injury centre.
In 2017, the health ministry had formed an expert committee under the chairmanship of Arun Agarwal, former dean of Maulana Azad Medical College, which suggested a compensation of at least ₹ 20 lakh be paid to each patient.
The state level committees, the panel said, would evaluate the claims made by patients. The compensation will be decided by the central committee on the basis of the base amount and loss of wages.