NEW DELHI :
The Delhi High Court on Thursday directed US pharmaceutical major Johnson & Johnson (J&J) Pvt Ltd to pay ₹25 lakh each to four patients affected by its faulty acetabular surface replacement (ASR) hip implants.
India’s drug regulatory authority had ordered the company to pay compensation to these patients, following the recommendation of an expert committee. The Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) had in March asked Johnson & Johnson to pay Rs. 65 lakh and Rs. 74 lakh as compensation to two unidentified patients in Maharashtra. On 30 April, it once again ordered the company to pay over ₹1 crore and ₹90 lakh, respectively, to two more patients from Uttar Pradesh.
The drug major had moved the Delhi High Court against government orders to compensate patients, saying it was willing to pay only ₹25 lakh each.
Justice Vibhu Bakhru on Thursday directed the company to submit the list of verified patients and their claims to the court while the CDSCO has been asked to provide details of other patients who have approached it for compensation.
Sandeep Sethi, counsel for J&J, told the court, “Someone who hasn’t gone through a revision surgery, he or she is not entitled. The fact is approximately 250 people are registered. We are willing to pay for them."
On the last date of hearing J&J had said it was committed to providing assistance, including appropriate compensation, within an “established framework", to ASR patients in India who have undergone revision surgery. J&J’s spokesperson said the company would study the order when it was issued.
The company today said it had a list of approximately 250 patients who had undergone revision surgery and had claimed compensation.
Earlier, J&J had offered the government a fast track process by paying ₹25 lakh to patients of revision surgeries. The company maintained that it was willing to pay only revision surgery patients as was done globally.
On 29 November, the government had approved a formula devised by the RK Arya committee, which determined the quantum of compensation for the patients. The formula is based on the percentage of disability, age factor and risk factor. The compensation has a range of ₹30 lakh- ₹1.2 crore.
The implant, DePuy ASR, was sold in India by DePuy International, a J&J unit.
In 2017, the government had formed a panel headed by Dr. Arun Agarwal, former dean of Maulana Azad Medical College, which suggested compensation for each patient.
The next date of hearing has been set as May 29.